Dubai: Minor injury develops into cancer; expat undergoes complex surgery to save eye

Rakesh Balakrishnan, a marine engineer, sustained the injury at sea


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Supplied photos
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Published: Wed 26 Apr 2023, 1:40 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Apr 2023, 7:07 PM

Rakesh Balakrishnan, a marine engineer, recounts his brush with cancer.

"While at sea, I suffered a minor injury and immediately received first aid as soon as the ship was docked," he said.

“It was not that deep a wound, however, I consulted an ophthalmologist near my office,” added Balakrishnan. The doctor examined the wound and sent him home with medicines to heal the wound.

But the worst was yet to come for the Indian expat.

Back-to-back infections

Balakrishnan said he initially experienced difficulty with healing. "I found the wound to be healing and then getting infected again. I applied medicines to my wound again. But it did not show any difference. The wound would dry up and then get infected again," he said.

But soon, it became very difficult for Balakrishnan to even open his left eye. “It used to be sticky when I woke up in the morning and would not open naturally. I used to apply water and clean it to open my eyes. After some days, I noticed that my eyes were turning red, and it was painful," Balakrishna said.

Diagnosis is cancer

Balakrishna underwent a series of tests and after a thorough examination, it was revealed that revealed he had cancer.

"Balakrishna had suffered a minor injury. But with time, it grew into a cancerous tumour affecting the lower eyelid. The only option was to excise the malignant portion. We had to remove about 70 per cent of his lower eyelid,” said Dr Faizan Mehmood, a specialist ophthalmologist and oculoplasty surgeon at Aster Hospital, Qusais.

The doctor explained to him the complexity and the inevitability of the procedure. “He received it well, and we proceeded with the surgery," said Dr Mehmood.

The doctor saved Balakrishna’s eye from cancer by operating out the malignant area and reconstructing it with a flap of skin from his upper eyelid. It took about three-and-a-half hours to perform the surgery, and Balakrishna was discharged on the same day.

Eye looks normal

Post the procedure, Balakrishna’s eyes look normal. There is a minor scar which will disappear in about three months’ time.

"I am so relieved now. My eyes look the same. It doesn’t seem like I have undergone reconstruction surgery. I was a bit nervous when Dr Mehmood explained the procedure. I thought my eyes would never look the same. But I am so happy with the result after the procedure," said Balakrishna.


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