Chennai doctors gift Iraqi woman sight

When Gula Namiq Hassan reaches Iraq on Monday, she will see her two children, four-year-old Rayan and seven-year-old Mohemmed, for the first time. After 18 years of being blind, Gula has a Chennai surgeon to thank for her vision today.

In 1994, Gula happened to be dangerously close to a bomb blast in her town, and her eyes took the worst of the shrapnel and the impact of the explosion.

She was only 21 years old then. “Both her eyes were damaged beyond repair. Her right eye had to be taken out, and the doctors tried to save the left eye.

But they could only remove the damaged lens, and left it at that,” recollects Mahmud, Gula’s brother–in-law who accompanied her to Chennai for treatment.

In 2011, an Iraqi eye doctor told her that Chennai-based Dr Amar Agarwal had the technology to fix her eye. The family took the next flight out to India.

“It was a difficult case. I knew I only had one chance with this eye, it would not withstand multiple surgeries,” explained Dr Amar Agarwal.

He gave her medicine and asked her to return a year later.

Last week, she was wheeled into the OT at Dr Agarwal’s eye hospital. “The thick membrane in the eye was removed in a vitrectomy. As there was no support on which to place the artificial lens, we resorted to a folded lens,” said Dr Agarwal.

Three days later, Gula is able to read, distinguish colours and walk on her own.

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