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Eye Surgeries Remain Cancelled Due To TASS Outbreak In Toronto

A mysterious post-operative eye ailment that swept along the continent has lead to the shut down of the cataract-surgery unit in Scarborough Hospital, one of Toronto's largest cataract centres last week. //

The Hospital, which performs around 5,000 eye operations a year, decided to cancel all cataract surgeries last week, on November 9, when more and more patients came down with the ailment, known as toxic anterior segment syndrome, or TASS. Moreover the hospital authorities told that the date of reopening couldn’t be announced until late next week.

The outbreak of toxic syndrome has appeared at number of North American hospitals. CEO Dr. Hugh Scott, yesterday reported that 30 patients were told they had TASS (toxic anterior segment syndrome), a condition that usually is not serious.

"I really don't think this problem they're having in Toronto is related," said Mamalis, who headed a task force looking into a continent-wide outbreak that ended in the summer. "This is not part of that same outbreak."

The Mysterious Ailment, TASS, which inflames in the eye’s interior and in rare cases, can even lead to glaucoma, torn and detached retinas, cornea damage, loss of sight etc., but in majority of patients suffering from this disease after two days of surgery, it gets resolved by itself or with the help of anti-inflammatory treatment within a week or 2.

The TASS outbreak started invading North America early in February and had largely dissipated in July. Signs of TASS start appearing after 12 to 24 hours of surgery, says Dr. Raymond Stein, the hospital's chief of ophthalmology and past president of the Canadian Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

"Most of the patients are fairly comfortable. Their vision may be mildly affected," he added, stressing TASS is not caused by an infection.

But the actual cause of this ailment, appearing in scores of North American eye centres and identified at TSH for the first time, is still a mystery and a national TASS network has been launched to track cases and to pinpoint possible causes.


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