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Saving An Expectant Mother’s Vision

Dalal Alholi, a 26-year-old Kuwaiti woman, was born with glaucoma, which required daily medication and numerous surgeries to maintain her vision. An already complicated medical situation became much more serious when she learned she was pregnant and her glaucoma was worsening. Mrs. Alholi and her family could go anywhere in the world to obtain the best care. They chose Mass. Eye and Ear and the expertise of Dr. Douglas Rhee in the Glaucoma Service.

“Glaucoma management during pregnancy is difficult,” Dr. Rhee said. “The drugs used to treat the disease are not recommended for those who are expecting a child.” Dr. Rhee was in a dilemma. “Mrs. Alholi had advanced damage to her optic nerves and her eye pressures were out of control. The stress of the operation alone with her already compromised optic nerves could rob her of her sight,” Dr. Rhee said. The physician explained to the family that there was a one-in-three chance vision loss if he performed surgery, but that there was a 100% chance of blindness if he did not. Mrs. Alholi chose surgery and had two procedures on two separate days.

“Surgical care during pregnancy presents medical and anesthesia challenges. She required removal of ExPress shunts placed in Spain and placement of standard shunts to remove pressure,” Dr. Rhee said.

Mrs. Alholi’s vision was saved by the surgeries and her eyes look beautiful. Best of all, she gave birth to Jena, a healthy baby girl. “Dr. Rhee is an excellent surgeon,” said Abdullah Alrashed, Mrs. Alholi’s husband. “We are also grateful to the International Office. We thank everyone at Mass. Eye and Ear for helping us!”