CHENNAI: At 19, Ashish Choudary achieved something of an impossibility. Hailing from a farmers family in a remote village in Madhya Pradesh and born with defective vision, Ashish still managed what people with the best of eyesight and the best of education could not - a 27th rank in the IIT-JEE examination.
In the same year, another ‘miracle’ happened, as his vision has been completely restored. For, he had been living with shadow visions and strained eyes for 19 long years.
It all began when his English professor at the IIT-Madras noticed something odd about him when he read books in her class. “He was keeping the book too close to him in the class,” says Manjula Rajan, his professor. She informed the authorities, who decided to look for a solution. They got in touch with the Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital.
It was found Ashish was suffering from two conditions - one subfluxated lens in both eyes, a condition in which the eye lens is tilted preventing the correct movement of light into the eyes; and second micro cornea where the cornea is thinner than normal.
“We had to implant artificial intra-ocular lens into the eye using biological glue. This technique is called glued IOL. After this, the defective pupil in his eye had to be shut and then reopened at the right spot for proper eyesight. Today, his eyesight is 100 per cent, like any other person with normal vision. This is the first time this technique has been performed. It has been published in a peer reviewed journal,” says Dr Amar Agarwal.
The surgery which was performed at a subsidised cost of `50,000 was completely sponsored by the IIT-Madras.
According to Ashish, his family has been trying for several years to get his condition cured.
“We had gone to hospitals in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, apart from those in Madhya Pradesh. When I was eight, a surgery was done in a hospital in Indore. But none worked,” says Ashish.
Ashish chose IIT-Madras in spite of the many choices he had, to improve his English-speaking skills.
Now, he says, the college has done more than teach him English.