Turkish group offers free eye care to thousands of displaced Syrians – Middle East Monitor

ByMartha R. Camara

May 29, 2022

Turkish NGO provides free eye care to thousands of people in northern Syria displaced by years of conflict, Anadolu Agency reported.

In less than a year, the Alliance of International Doctors (AID) eye center in Idlib has performed hundreds of cataract operations and examined 7,000 people with eye diseases.

Due to mass migration linked to the civil war and terrorism in Syria, more than 4 million people live in Idlib, an area near the Turkish border outside the control of the Assad regime, many of them in tents.

Samer Alkhalil, an ophthalmologist at the centre, said the facility sees all kinds of patients with vision problems, retinal diseases, cataracts and corneal problems.

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“We prescribe the necessary medications or surgery, if necessary,” he said. “If the surgery is related to cataracts or similar cases of intraocular lens implantation or anterior vitreous cutting, we schedule an appointment with the patient and perform the operation within weeks of the examination.”

The center performs around 100 operations and 900 examinations every month, he said, with refraction or poor vision making up most of the cases.

Alkhalil said there is a significant number of cataract patients in Idlib. “The reason for the high number of cases here, more than in other places in the world, is the gap or lack of (health) services in recent years,” he said.

He added that the center is currently working on a large number of cataract operations, in addition to eye exams and the distribution of medicines and glasses.