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Gran Has Tattoos In Eyes To Help With Rare Light-Sensitivity Problem

Gran Has Tattoos In Eyes To Help With Rare Light-Sensitivity Problem

A grandmother whose eyes became extremely sensitive to light underwent an incredible procedure which tattooed ink onto her eyeballs, which acts as though she is permanently wearing sunglasses. How amazing is that?

Mandy Liscombe found her eyes became increasingly sensitive to light after she underwent surgery to treat glaucoma several years back.

After a number of unsuccessful attempts to treat the sensitivity, surgeon Mario Saldanha suggested tattooing ink onto Mandy's corneas, which would then act like a pair of sunnies inside her eyes.

Mandy Liscombe with her surgeon Mario Saldanha. Credit: Swansea Bay University Health Board
Mandy Liscombe with her surgeon Mario Saldanha. Credit: Swansea Bay University Health Board
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Mandy, from Swansea, praised the pioneering surgeon, saying: "It's fantastic. Mr Saldanha has changed my life."

She explained that she had a family history of glaucoma, which causes pressure to build-up behind the eyes and can cause damage to vision or even blindness.

A consultant recommended she have laser surgery to treat the glaucoma. Sadly for Mandy, a rare side-effect - estimated to affect one out of every 1,000 people - left her with a sensitivity to light.

She said: "I became extremely light-sensitive. It had a huge impact on me.

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"It affected me when I was watching TV or when I was in the theatre or cinema.

"Sometimes I felt it wasn't safe to drive in the dark. I drive early in the morning to go to work and I drive the grandchildren. But once headlights hit me, I really couldn't see."

Following the advice of other doctors, Mandy tried coloured glasses or contact lenses, neither of which helped.

Five years later, she was eventually referred to ophthalmology consultant Mario, who works at the Singleton Hospital in Swansea, who suggested the unusual surgery.

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He said the problem was caused by the fact that light was now entering inside Mandy's eyes twice - after the laser surgery had created an extra, artificial opening.

The tiny tattoo acts like a pair sunglasses. Credit: Swansea Bay University Health Board
The tiny tattoo acts like a pair sunglasses. Credit: Swansea Bay University Health Board

The surgeon said: "For Mrs Liscombe, we used a tiny, precise scalpel to create a pocket in the centre of the cornea, over where she had the laser. We then put in a layer of tattoo ink and closed the pocket.

"It's like having a filter in the clear window of her eye but without affecting the coloured part and retaining the artificial opening. It worked instantly.

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"The beauty of it was, we had actually checked it out first by temporarily using marking ink on that area, but on the surface, and asked her to go out for a couple of hours and come back.

"She found it was dramatically different. She wanted us to do it - and to do the other eye too."

Mandy has now had both eyes done and says it's 'fantastic'.

"Once the dressing came off and my pupil dilated again, it was instant," she said. "It was gone straight away.

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"Mr Saldanha thought that perhaps it would compensate for the other eye, but it accentuated the problem because I was left with one squinty eye.

"Now I've had that done too and it's fantastic. Mr Saldanha truly is a marvellous man - he's amazing."

Featured Image Credit: Swansea Bay University Health Board

Topics: uk news

Claire Reid

Claire is a journalist at LADbible who, after dossing around for a few years, went to Liverpool John Moores University. She graduated with a degree in Journalism and a whole load of debt. When not writing words in exchange for money she is usually at home watching serial killer documentaries surrounded by cats. You can contact Claire at [email protected]