Mon, 27 May 2024 Today's Paper

Partially blind acid attack victim believes he’ll see again

7 May 2024 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


When Sanjaya Sandaruwan awoke on the morning of October 18, 2010, the world lay before him like an open road, full of promise and possibility. At 27, he was in his youth, employed as a coach at a sports club nestled within a picturesque tourist hotel, and deeply in love. However, the course of his life took a tragic turn in a matter of seconds when he fell victim to a brutal acid attack by those who opposed a romantic relationship in which he was entangled in.
In an instant, his bright future was eclipsed, and he found himself plunged into a world of darkness and despair. The attack left him with severe injuries to his face and blinded him. Sadaruwan has filed a case in court and said that he is still seeking justice. 

After enduring countless tests and treatments, doctors determined that Sandaruwan’s best chance to partially restore his vision was through a corneal transplant in both eyes. Unfortunately, this procedure wasn’t available in Sri Lanka, so he travelled to India for the surgery. After more than three months of medical care there, he returned to Sri Lanka for follow-up surgery, which was conducted at a private hospital, thanks to the financial assistance of a group of generous donors. “Following the initial interview I had with the Daily Mirror in 2014, I received donations from several generous donors which facilitated the surgery of an artificial cornea graft for my right eye,” said Sadaruwan.
Sandaruwan mentioned that the only surgeon in Sri Lanka performing this surgery is Dr. Rajesh Fogla, a Senior Consultant Eye Surgeon from India; the surgeon visits a leading private hospital in Colombo once a month for consultations. Sandaruwan’s right eye has shown a twenty percent improvement after a recent and costly surgery called Boston Keratoprosthesis Implantation Surgery (artificial cornea grafting), a surgical procedure that replaces a device to overcome blindness.
He said that after getting injected with the third dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine (Pfizer) he experienced severe melting of the cornea in the left eye. Meanwhile, this affected the right eye as well. As a result, the doctors had to decide to remove his left eye. This caused him to return to India. On June 08, 2023, surgery was done (Boston type II). As a result, his eye was almost fully closed and a camera was inserted. He said that after this surgery he has regained some of his eyesight compared to before. “There are only two people in Sri Lanka who have gone through these types of surgeries,” said Sandaruwan. After the surgery he was compelled to travel to India once a month. At present he travels once every three months to India for further treatment.

Since this travelling and the scans conducted on the visits incur high costs Sadaruwan couldn’t make timely visits to India. He said that he was already late for the next appointment. “Eight months have passed since the surgery. I am visiting India for more scans once every three months. Doctors say that I’ll be able to regain my eyesight within two years,” sighed Sadaruwan. Despite the challenges, he remains hopeful about regaining his eyesight. However, due to the high travel and treatment costs, which amount to more than five hundred thousand rupees, he is seeking financial support for the tour scheduled this month (May 2024).  
Sandaruwan stated that he has been occupied in a tea bag selling business and making supplies to a meditation centre, as it can supplement his daily spending and medications. “But with my current situation doctors have strictly advised me not to get exposed to dust, therefore I am having issues with being occupied with something. As a result I am facing financial difficulties,” said Sandaruwan in frustration.   

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