BENGALURU: 50-year-old Akklappa was administered the Covishield vaccine at a government health centre at Thirumani in Pavagada taluk of Tumakuru district on March 8. Two days later, he lost vision in his left eye, leaving him and his family shocked. Doctors at a private hospital in Pavagada then referred him to Minto Eye Hospital in Bengaluru.
“He has had diabetes since 5-6 years, but it was always under control. Every month, he goes for check-ups and is on medication. However, we don’t understand what happened after he took the vaccine. We were scared he would lose his other eye as well,” said Muttayalappa, his son-in-law.Shaken by the experience, the family is now too scared to take the second dose. “Who will take responsibility for what happened?” questioned Muttayalappa.
However, doctors at Minto Hospital say the loss of vision is not because of the vaccine, but because of Akklappa’s comorbidities. “His ocular pressure and BP were high when he arrived on March 12. He had high cholesterol levels and was not on any blood thinners,” they said.
“A diagnosis of the central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) was done on the left eye. All emergency protocols were followed to help restore vision, like ocular massage and decreasing intraocular pressure. This includes anterior chamber paracentesis and drugs used locally and systemically to lower the raised intraocular pressure, which would have caused the vascular supply to the eye being cut off,” said Dr Sujatha Rathod, Director of Minto Eye Hospital. Blocks, plaques and calcification in the carotid arteries can be one of the causes for CRAO, she added.
“He has carotid blockages more on the left side than the right side, which can be a major contributor for the vessel block in the left eye, as a result of his high cholesterol levels, diabetes and hypertension,” Dr Rathod said. He was admitted for a week and sent for detailed systemic evaluation to a cardiologist to rule out other major vessel blocks. He will also return for a follow-up.