Mangaluru, Oct 7, 2015: Dr. Rohit Shetty, vice chairman of Narayana Nethralaya, Bengaluru has completed an extensive study of tear samples which helps predict and prevent keratoconus.
Since early detection is key to stall vision loss, the ophthalmology major aims at devising cost-effective screening tests and affordable treatment options for community outreach programmes in keratoconus.
This genetic disease in many cases is also seen in patients who develop allergy, prompting them to rub their eyes, aggravating the issue.
“In 2007, Narayana Nethrayala had over 50 keratoconus patients. The numbers increased to 8 to 10 patients per day now. It is most common among urban youth less than 35 years. Only 1 per cent of cases are diagnosed with genetic disorder and the remaining 99 per cent were due to allergies because of excessive exposure to computers, electronic gadgets and smartphones which leads to dry eyes,” says Dr. Shetty.
With a focus on conducting early diagnosis to prevent vision loss, Dr. Shetty began the research in 2004. Titled ‘Understanding the clinical immunological and Genetic Molecular Mechanisms of Keratoconus’, he collaborated with Maastricht University, Netherlands in 2013 and worked with Prof Rudy Nuits. The research bagged him the prestigious Col. Rangachary Award at the All India Ophthalmological conference in February 2015, which is highest recognition for research in ophthalmology.
Recently he successfully completed his doctoral thesis work to get a PhD on Tears & Keratoconus. He is the first in the country to receive a PhD in medicine and the only Indian to have achieved it from the University of Maastricht, Netherlands, according Narayana Nethralaya.
Currently, there are special keratoconus lenses known as scleral lenses which fit the cornea very well, giving good quality of vision. Doctors have achieved large breakthroughs with treatments like C3R and Intacs. Cornea transplant is the last resort for patients in last stage of keratoconus. Globally 45 per cent of eye transplants are due to keratoconus, said Dr. Shetty.
Dr. Rohit Shetty, a Native of Shiroor in Udupi District.