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Al-Shifa Trust brings latest technology for eye treatment

By Muhammad Qasim
April 10, 2022

Rawalpindi: Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital has introduced a new revolutionary Swiss technology for eye treatment, which will benefit many in Pakistan.

Al-Shifa has become the first facility in Asia to use a Femtosecond Laser developed by a Swiss company to carry out Bowmann Layer Transplant for the treatment of Keratoconus, an eye disease that affects the cornea, said Professor Dr. Wajid Ali Khan, Chief of Medical Services of the trust.

He said that the latest technology will not only empower our ophthalmologists to deliver better vision care to their patients, but we will also train doctors working in other facilities.

He said that about two hundred thousand people need this procedure but the trust can conduct 800 surgeries annually because of limited supply. With the help of this latest technology, layers of one cornea can be used to treat two to three patients, he said. Senior Engineer of Ziemer Ophthalmic Systems AG Fritz Meyer who was on a visit to Pakistan informed that this treatment takes a very thin layer of the donor’s cornea and is placed in a pocket in the patient’s diseased cornea suffering. This procedure strengthens the weak cornea, hence avoiding the need for a full cornea transplant. So far, twenty patients have been treated with this technique successfully at Al Shifa Eye hospital, which is encouraging, he added.

It may be mentioned that the trust was established in 1991, it has been fighting against blindness and it has introduced many advanced treatment options during the last three decades.

In 1992 Cornea and Refractive Surgery department was established at Al-Shifa eye hospital Rawalpindi. Later Radial Keratotomy was introduced in 1993 to treat patients with glasses. The Excimer laser was introduced in 1995. Amniotic membrane Transplant and Limbal stem cell transplant started in 2006 and Amniotic Membrane Bank was also established.

To treat patients with Keratoconus disease in which the cornea becomes thin and conical, a new treatment called Collagen Cross linkage was started in 2008. This treatment was not even offered in countries like USA and Canada. Over 5000 patients have benefitted from this treatment since then and most of them are children and young adults.

In 2008, the trust established the first international standard Eye Bank with the technical support of Eversight Eye Bank Michigan USA. Al-Shifa has the largest Cornea Transplant centre in Pakistan. Al-Shifa has been sharing its experiences with doctors at home and abroad by presenting its work at national and international conferences and by publishing it in medical journals.