Emirati with Down syndrome regains vision after complex surgery

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on September 5, 2021
Supplied photo

The 40-year-old patient was completely dependent on her sisters due to severe sight impairment

A 40-year-old Emirati with severe Down syndrome lost almost all functional vision two years ago. She needed help with the most basic things — eating, walking and moving around.

But after a complex surgery at an Abu Dhabi hospital, Aida has regained her vision.

Since childhood, Aida suffered from eye problems. Her left eye was removed 15 years ago because of complications caused by a glaucoma surgery.

Over the last three years, the Emirati’s vision in her only seeing eye began deteriorating. When she went to Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, her eyesight was worsening.

“Her case was very complex, as she was suffering from cataract, glaucoma, recurrent uveitis and lens iris adhesions from previous eye surgeries,” said Dr Igor Kozak, clinical lead and ophthalmology consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

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Dr Syed Ali, consultant ophthalmologist and Aida’s surgeon, said: “Aida recently became completely dependent on her sisters due to severe sight impairment. She was unable to see her food on the plate. Walking in new places without help was also not possible for her.”

Dr Ali added that Aida had severe lens iris adhesions and needed a cataract surgery to restore her vision.

“As a patient with Down syndrome who underwent several surgeries before, she developed a fear of hospitals and procedures. The 1-hour surgery included removing her opaque natural lens and implanting an artificial lens inside the eye, which helped in restoring her sight in the right eye completely,” he said.

The pupil was detached from lens, then dense cataract was removed and replaced with a new artificial lens that helped in restoring her sight to 6/6, said doctors.

Aida’s family members were worried about the outcome of the surgery, but it was their only hope. Otherwise, she would've been left blind.

After the surgery, Aida’s sister, Asmaa Ahmed, told Khaleej Times: “Her reaction when the bandage was removed from her after the surgery was very touching. She was extremely happy to see us again. She brought tears to the ears of everyone in the room. On behalf of my family and sister, I would like to deeply thank the medical, technical and nursing teams at Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi for their efforts with Aida since day one.”


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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