Rawalpindi-Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Rawalpindi is providing specialized Oculoplastic consultations to around 6,000 patients per year and operating over 1,000 reconstructive and tumour surgeries in a year which is one of the highest in the country, Dr Tayyab Afghani, head of the respective department, said while talking to journalists on Sunday.

At an average, one surgery costs around Rs50,000-80,000 with an average surgery time of 60-90 minutes, he said. Most of this treatment is free of cost, he added. Dr Tayyab Afghani said that huge tumour was removed successfully with complete restoration of sight recently. Sabira Bibi was 63 years old from Turbat who had a very large tumour involving her right eye. Her agony started about 4 years back when a small swelling appeared in her right eye and gradually increased in size, he said.

She travelled to different provincial hospitals for treatment but she could not get relief. Gradually as the tumour grew in size, her hope for treatment started shrinking. Now the tumour had become painful and her vision gradually reduced to nothing. As she was about to lose hope, her son got the information from one of the city doctors about Al-Shifa, he said.

She reached Al-Shifa where she was operated at department of orbit and Oculoplastics by Dr Tayyab Afghani.

Yahya – a lovely child from Gilgit – met a serious accident when a dog ferociously bit him in the face. The trauma was serious and resulted in complete avulsion of his eyelids and adjoining face. As the parents could afford his travel expenses, Yahya was immediately transported to Al-Shifa Trust after emergency treatment. The reconstructive surgery that lasted for 4 hours finally restored the structure and function of the face and eye, he said.

Sabira and Yahya are some of the very few examples that are being treated at Department of Orbit and Oculoplastics at Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Rawalpindi. One of the largest plastic and reconstructive surgery center for eye diseases in the country, the department takes pride as one of the best treatment centers for birth defects of the eye, trauma reconstruction, cosmetic eye and facial rehabilitation and all types of cancers and tumours of the eye, he explained.

Dr Tayyab Afghani, who is head of the department, said that this subspecialty has very few experts in the country. It is not only a costly treatment, but also the lengthy surgery that may last up to many hours needs lot of patience and team work. “Sometimes we take assistance from other experts in the field like neurosurgeons, maxillofacial surgeons and ENT experts. Because of this and many other reasons, such centres of excellence in Oculoplastics are very few in the country. That is why there is always a long waiting list for surgery”.