CHENNAI: Iraqi national Gula Namiq Hassan is ‘visibly’ excited. The 39-year-old mother of two will finally be able to see her children clearly, when she returns home on Wednesday. “I have only seen their shapes. To see their faces I have had to keep their photograph near my eye; but even then, no colours,” she says in Kurdish, as her brother-in-law Mahmoud translates.
In 1994, as a graduate who was walking back home in the town of As Sulaymaniyah, Gula was shocked when a car bomb exploded — the shrapnel tore towards her face and the flash damaged her eyes. Her right eye was completely destroyed, while the lens in her left was damaged. Thankfully for Gula, her husband took her to an ophthalmologist last year, who suggested they contact Dr Amar Agarwal — the eye surgeon from Chennai, who pioneered the glued intraocular lens (IOL) technique.
“They came last July, but her blood pressure was extremely high. We had to put her on medication to lower it and also stimulate the nerves in the eye that had been shrouded by membrane over the years,” said Dr Agarwal, CMD-Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital. He had just one shot at repairing such a war-ravaged eye, he added. On May 28, he operated on the woman, clearing all the membrane in her eye and then implanting the IOL. “What the war took away, technology has given back,” beamed Dr Agarwal.