Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai Collaborates with The Big Heart Foundation to Treat Three-year-old Syrian Girl with a Rare, Severe Congenital Eyelid Defect

Apr 26, 2016, 05:31 ET from Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai by WPR

DUBAI, UAE, April 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai and The Big Heart Foundation, an initiative of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, are working together to treat a three year old Syrian girl called Salma Mustafa Asaad, aged three and was born with around two thirds of one of her eyelids missing, due to a rare condition called Congenital Eyelid Coloboma. This is where the eyelid and eyebrow are cleft and need repair- her right eye is healthy.

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The first of a series of surgical procedures to correct this was recently completed successfully at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai by a specialist oculoplastic team, led by Consultant Ophthalmic & Oculoplastic Surgeon Dr. Yassir Abou-Rayyah. They removed eyelid tissue from her lower lid and grafted it in the upper lid to close the defect. Salma is recovering from the procedure at present and will require a series of further specialist eye surgeries planned over the next 12-18 months.

Salma's father, Mustafa Ahmed, said: "I want to extend my profound thanks to Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, and The Big Heart Foundation and all its administrators, and to the doctors and medical staff at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai and especially Dr. Yassir Abou-Rayyah, for facilitating this eye surgery for my daughter Salma, and bringing joy and happiness to our hearts."

Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of Salam Ya Seghar, added: "Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi seeks to alleviate the suffering of children and refugees wherever and whenever her Highness can.  It is through her Highnesses' The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) that the surgery for little Salma can be provided in collaboration with Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai. It is a beautiful thing to give a child her sight back, it is a gift that will last her lifetime. TBHF always strives to provide support to children in need through various charitable projects and relief campaigns, and we hope that this assistance will reach all people who need our help and support."

Commenting on the medical condition and treatment, Dr Yassir Abou-Rayyah, Consultant Ophthalmic & Oculoplastic Surgeon, said: "Salma has a rare congenital disease, which severely affects her vision. The surgical team was very pleased with the first stage surgery to separate her eyelid from the eye globe and her condition is now very stable, and we now look forward to seeing Salma grow and develop over the next few months, before we continue the treatment to fully restore her upper and lower eyelids. We are very optimistic about the outcome because she is so young and still growing, and look forward to helping Salma achieve normal healthy vision.

Moorfields is delighted to work with The Big Heart Foundation to help Salma and her parents through a challenging series of surgeries, as part of our charitable work in the region and after her referral from the Palestine Children's Relief Fund."  

Yara Al Saleh, UAE Chapter President, Palestine Children's Relief Fund, concluded: "Our primary goal is to identify and treat every child in need in the Middle East region, regardless of their nationality, religion, race or gender. We are doing the best we can to make a positive difference in children's lives and bring back the hope and smiles to their faces again. We are pleased to have great volunteers and partners like Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai and Salam Ya Seghar to support us in the treatment of Salma and many others."

Notes to editors:

About the Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF) 

A registered 501(c)(3) non-governmental organization. 

The PCRF is a non-political, non-profit organization established in 1991 to address the medical and humanitarian crisis facing children in the Middle East. Today the PCRF provides medical and humanitarian aid for hundreds of children living in the Middle East region - regardless of their nationality, religion or gender.

The PCRF sends medical volunteer teams to Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan to treat children in urgent surgical need and train local medical personnel. More than 20,000 children already benefitted from this program.

Children who cannot be treated locally are provided with cost-free treatment abroad. Since 1991 the PCRF has sent over 1,500 children from Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq oversees for free medical care, which is provided by supporters in North and South America, Europe, Asia and other parts of the Middle East.

The PCRF also runs numerous humanitarian programs for children in need, especially the ones suffering in war-torn Syria and Gaza through providing food, clothes, heaters, wheelchairs, eyeglasses, cancer medicine and other medical supplies.

To learn more visit: 

Facebook : PCRFUAE

Twitter : PCRF_UAE

Instagram : PCRF_UAE

About The Big Heart Foundation  

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah was appointed as UNHCR's first Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children in May 2013. In this role, Sheikha Jawaher helped increase public awareness about refugees and the work of UNHCR, with a focus on children. Her previous work with charities and her fund-raising initiatives are testament to her commitment to helping relieve the suffering of people affected by war, especially women and children. After the huge success of the Big Heart Campaign during its two years, it was re-launched by Her Highness in 2015 as an independent foundation. The Big Heart Foundation has currently three divisions supporting childhood cancer, children in Palestine and refugee children and their families. In future new philanthropic initiatives for the family and children may be added to the foundation's scope of work as per Her Highness's directives.

About Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai 

Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai (MEHD) is the first overseas branch of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the oldest and one of the largest centres for ophthalmic treatment, teaching and research in the world. Located at the Al Razi Medical Complex in Dubai Health Care City, the facility provides day case surgery and outpatient diagnostic and treatment services, for a variety of surgical and non-surgical eye conditions. MEHD will also raise standards for research and teaching in the region. MEHD is owned and managed by the NHS Foundation Trust, and maintains close links with London, to ensure that patients in the GCC receive the best eye care treatment in the world.

Issued on behalf of Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai by WPR.

SOURCE Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai by WPR