Ophthalmologists at Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi restore vision for patient with Down Syndrome

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4 September 2021 – Abu Dhabi, UAE: Ophthalmologists at Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, part of United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical) and a Mubadala Health Partner, succeeded in restoring the vision of a 40-years old Emirati patient with Down Syndrome. The patient had one of her eyes removed at a younger age due to complications caused by a glaucoma surgery. Her vision in her only seeing eye began gradually deteriorating over the last 3 years and has recently lost almost all functional vision.

Since childhood, the patient has suffered from eye problems, and has experienced learning difficulties associated with Down syndrome. She underwent multiple surgeries to treat glaucoma in both eyes 15 years ago at one of the medical centers, but unfortunately, she suffered from some complications and lost vision in the left eye completely. The eye decreased drastically in size and was extremely painful, due to previous eye surgeries she had; thus, she underwent an eye removal procedure for her left eye.  

“The patient came to Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi as her sight was worsening in her right eye – the only seeing eye. Her case was very complex as she was suffering from cataract, glaucoma, recurrent uveitis and lens iris adhesions from previous eye surgeries,” Dr. Igor Kozak, Clinical Lead and Ophthalmology Consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital said. “At Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, we are fully equipped with the most advanced technologies according to international standards, and have top-notch ophthalmologists with the needed experience to treat the full spectrum of eye diseases in both adults and children with the best clinical outcomes. The hospital has always been providing care to people of determination and provides them with the care needed. This comes as part of UEMedical’s inclusion strategy, that ensures all our clinical and non-clinical members are fully trained to care for people of determination.”

Dr. Syed Ali, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Abu Dhabi, who performed the surgery for the patient Aida, 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.”

“The patient needed a cataract surgery and had severe lens iris adhesions. This required a surgical intervention to restore her vision and to enable ophthalmologists to monitor her optic nerve and retina which was not possible with her dense cataract. The surgery was performed at Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi recently under general anesthesia as we needed to calm her down and make her comfortable. As a patient with Down syndrome who underwent several surgeries before, she developed 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. The procedure was complex because of the adhesions of the pupil and lens as a reaction to previous glaucoma surgeries and inflammation (recurrent uveitis). The latest techniques were used during the surgery. The pupil was detached from lens, then very dense cataract was removed and replaced with a new artificial lens which helped in restoring her sight to 6/6. She also required strong anti-inflammatory treatment after surgery. Her family members were worried about the surgery because it was the only hope that she sees them again because her left eye was removed long time back, otherwise she would’ve been left blind,” Dr. Syed Ali added. “Performing cataract surgery in patients with uveitis and previous intra-ocular surgery with lens and iris adhesion are always challenging and need meticulous care and planning before, during and after surgery. They require frequent follow for first 8 weeks after surgery to recognize any relapse of uveitis and treat early to avoid sight threatening complications.”

Ms. Asmaa Ahmed, the patient’s sister expressed her happiness and gratitude after the successful procedure which allowed her sister to see again. “Restoring her vision has helped her with her daily routines without depending on the help of others. For the past 2 years, she has required help in the most basic things such as walking, eating and moving around. Her reaction when the bandage was removed from her eye after surgery was very touching. She was extremely happy to see us again. She brought tears to the eyes 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.”