Syrians can get free eye care thanks to a Turkish NGO

Syrians in need of eye care are finding relief through a Turkish NGO. Despite limited access to therapy in war-torn Syria, the Alliance of International Doctors' Idlib Ophthalmology Center has provided hundreds of cataract surgeries and screenings for thousands of people. With a focus on treating visual impairments, retinal issues, cataracts, and corneal concerns, the clinic aims to bridge the healthcare gap and educate future doctors. This non-profit organization is also active in neighboring countries, providing prosthesis, cataract treatments, and educational operations.

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Syrians have limited access to eye therapy in a country torn apart by a decade-long conflict, with government forces demolishing health facilities. This is being worked on by a Turkish non-profit organisation (NGO).


Years of fighting in northern Syria have displaced thousands of people, and the government is providing free therapy of eye to them. The Alliance of International Doctors' (AID) Idlib Ophthalmology Center performed hundreds of cataract surgeries and screened 7,000 people for eye disorders in a year or less than a year.

More over 4 million people live in Idlib, a province near the Turkish border beyond the jurisdiction of the Bashar Assad administration, as a result of mass migration caused by Syria's civil war and terrorism, many of them in tents.

According to Samer Alkhalil, an ophthalmologist at the clinic, the facility sees a wide range of patients with visual impairments, retinal issues, cataracts, and corneal concerns. "If surgery or treatment is required, we will prescribe it," he said. "We make an appointment with the patient and do the treatment within weeks of the examination if the therapy is connected to cataracts or similar cases of intraocular lens imbedding or anterior vitreous cut."


According to him, the centre performs roughly 100 treatments and 900 evaluations per month, with the vast majority of cases including refractions and vision difficulties. According to Alkhalil, Idlib has a large proportion of cataract patients. "Due to a gap in or absence of (health-care) services, there have been a substantial number of events here in recent years, more than in other regions of the world," he said. He went on to say that the centre now performs a substantial number of cataract procedures in addition to eye exams and medicine and spectacle sales.

He also argues that the hospital is actively involved in future doctor education. "We teach new doctors to work toward the goal of their expertise," Alkhalil explained. "We teach them how to avoid a community gap later due to a doctor shortage at the clinic and throughout their treatments." He believes that by giving free ophthalmic surgeries, the centre aids other organisations. "We try to help them in every way we can by providing resources, scientific support, and medical support."

The organisation has also been active in many sections of Idlib and other countries, such as neighbouring Turkey and Africa, giving prosthesis, cataract treatments, and educational operations, with the help of partner organisations.

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