Minor eye injury turns into cancer; Engineer undergoes complex lid reconstruction surgery to save his eye


The injury was not healing and gradually started growing out of the left lower eyelid leading to pain and other problems.

Dubai: An Indian marine engineer, Rakesh Balakrishnan, suffered a minor injury in his left eye while working on a ship a few months back. He immediately received first aid at the dock and later consulted an ophthalmologist in a clinic near his workplace. 

Seeing nothing serious, the doctor examined the wound and sent him home with medicines to heal the wound. Never in his wildest dreams did Rakesh see that the minor scratch below his left eye would turn into cancer. 

Recently, he underwent a complex procedure to save his left eye at Aster Hospital, Qusais, under Dr Faizan Mehmood, specialist ophthalmologist and oculoplasty surgeon. The doctor rescued Rakesh’s eye from cancer by operating out the malignant area and reconstructing it with a flap of skin from his upper eyelid.    

Back-to-back infections:

Recalling how the minor injury became cancerous, Rakesh said he initially experienced difficulty with healing. “It was a minor injury. It was supposed to heal in a week. But 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. 

Rakesh remembered the hardships he had to face during those days. He had to apply water to open his left eye after waking up. “In the morning, my left eye used to be sticky. It would not open naturally because of the wound. 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,” he added.

Visiting the doctor again:

The pain, redness in his eye, and the puzzling wound took a toll on Rakesh’s daily routine. So, he decided to seek the advice of the doctor he had consulted before.

This time the doctor examined the wound and sensed it to be complicated. So the doctor advised Rakesh to consult an ophthalmologist in a hospital where they can perform advanced tests to get a conclusive idea of the root problem.

Diagnosis is cancer:

Acting on the advise he got from the doctor, Rakesh consulted Dr Faizan Mehmood, specialist ophthalmology at Aster Hospital, Qusais, and underwent a series of tests. The test results revealed he had cancer. 

“Rakesh’s was a pecualiar case. He 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 percent of his lower eyelid. I told Rakesh that the removed portion would be reconstructed using the skin from his upper eyelid. I told him about the complexity and the inevitability of the procedure. He received it well, and we proceeded for the surgery,” said Dr Faizan. 

It took about three-and-a-half hours to perform the surgery, and Rakesh was discharged on the same day. 

Eye look normal:

Post the procedure, Rakesh’s eyes look normal. There is small scar which would disappear in about three month’s time. 

“I am so happy and relieved now. My eyes look the same. It is impossible to recognize that I have undergone a reconstruction surgery. I was scared when Dr Faizan told me about the proceudre. I thought my eyes would never look the same. But I am so happy with the result after the procedure. I cannot thank Dr Faizan enough. He has saved my eye and life,” said Rakesh.