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Common Ocular Injuries Among Refugees

Over the years, the brutal war in Syria has done more damage than anyone can imagine.

This severe war has destroyed every aspect of life, leaving many people under traumatic events, violence exposure, and physical injuries to live with.

One of the most common disturbing injuries among refugees is Ocular injuries.

In the present years, the incidence of penetrating eye injuries in this continuance war has increased significantly compared with the total number of combat injuries.

In Syrian cities, where things are still a bit under control, patients find themselves unable to access health services even when emergencies occur due to the war environment.

However, up in northern Syria, in camps, where things are way more complex, and life looks unbearable, common ocular injuries are hard to treat on time, even when emergency situations occur. 

Some of the most common ocular injuries among refugees are …


The lazy eye is a common condition that affects small children, where (25%) of children might develop the condition of Amblyopia. 

Amblyopia is the reduction of vision in one eye caused by abnormal visual development early in life. Amblyopia is a serious illness.

Vision reduction can be avoided if detected early in life and promptly treated.

However, if Amblyopia is left untreated, it can cause severe visual disability in the affected eye, including legal blindness. 

Unblock Tear Duct

Blocked tear ducts can happen to anyone of any age.

However, it is more common in children than adults. 

​​Tear ducts are another name for Nasolacrimal Ducts.

They form at the corner of the eye nearest the nose.

They run underneath the skin and connect to the facial bones and nose.

The tears that moisturize your eye normally drain through a tiny opening in the corner of your eye.

The liquid then enters your nose, which your body absorbs and disposes of.

However, when a blocked tear duct occurs, whether a full or partial obstruction, in the nasal passageways, it drains tears.

If you have a blocked tear duct, your eyes may be itchy, irritated, and watery.

Corneal Transplants

The cornea is the transparent outer layer at the front of the eyeball.

It acts as a window to the eye. The cornea helps to focus light rays on the retina. This “picture” is then transmitted to the brain.

When the cornea is damaged, it can become less transparent, or its shape can change, preventing light from reaching the retina and causing the picture transmitted to the brain to be distorted or unclear.

A cornea transplant is an operation to remove all or part of a damaged cornea and replace it with healthy donor tissue.

It takes less than an hour to perform and can be done under local or general anesthesia accordingly. 

A cornea transplant is often referred to as keratoplasty or a corneal graft.

It can be used to improve sight, relieve pain and treat severe infection or damage.

One of the most common reasons for a cornea transplant is a condition called keratoconus, which causes the cornea to change shape.

The type of cornea transplant a person has will depend on which part of the cornea is damaged or how much of the cornea needs replacing.

Cornea transplant options include:

  1. Penetrating keratoplasty. 
  2. Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty. 
  3. Endothelial keratoplasty. 

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Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged.

It’s usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye.

Glaucoma can lead to vision loss if not diagnosed and treated early.

It can affect people of all ages but is most common in the elderly. 

Glaucoma tends to develop slowly over many years, causing no symptoms.

It affects the edges of the patient’s vision first.

If the person notices any symptoms, they might include blurred vision or seeing rainbow-colored circles around bright lights.

Very occasionally, glaucoma can develop suddenly and cause obvious symptoms such as…

  1. Intense eye pain.
  2. Nausea and vomiting.
  3. Headaches and a red eye.
  4. Tenderness around the eyes.
  5. Seeing rings around lights.
  6. Blurred vision.

There are several different types of glaucoma.

  1. Primary open-angle glaucoma. 
  2. Acute angle closure glaucoma 
  3. Secondary glaucoma.
  4. Childhood glaucoma. 


The eye lens is normally clear. Cataracts happen when clouding comes over the eye’s lens.

Most cataracts develop slowly over time, causing symptoms such as blurry vision.

Cataracts can be surgically removed through an outpatient procedure that restores vision in nearly everyone.

A person can get cataracts in both eyes, but one eye may be worse than the other or develop at a later time.

Most people start getting cataracts around age 40.

But the person probably won’t notice symptoms until after 60.

That’s why it is common among older people.

More than 50% of people aged 80 and older have had cataracts.

Rarely it occurs in newborn babies.

Those who are born with cataracts have a congenital disability.

People with Cataracts are more likely to develop cataracts if they:

  • Smoke cigarettes.
  • Live in an area with harmful air pollution.
  • Use alcohol heavily.
  • Have a family history of cataracts.

However, some severe health issues can directly cause Cataracts and speed up the formation of cataracts, such as…

  1. Diabetes.
  2. Medications, such as; Steroids and Phenothiazine drugs.
  3. Eye surgery or eye injuries.
  4. Radiation treatment to your upper body.
  5. Spending much time in the sun without eye protection, like using decent sunglasses.

Importance of Conducting Eyes Surgeries

The importance of conducting eye surgeries lies in providing a better quality of vision and helping the patient live a better life and be more productive. 

Eyes surgeries treat various conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma, detached retinas, retinal tears, diabetic retinopathy, and nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Any tiny infection in the eyes will affect the person’s life in one way or another.

It can affect their productive, social, and psychological states.

Therefore, conducting eye surgeries are critical to living a healthy good life. 

Help the Refugee to Get Better Vision for Tomorrow

As clarified previously, eye diseases are all treatable; some are more serious than others.

Nevertheless, all of them affect people’s lives profoundly. 

Refugees have developed a variety of diseases throughout the years of war and armed conflicts.

They are exposed to unhealthy living conditions and the hardships of all seasons.

Therefore, they need our help to reach out for the healthcare they need.

Let us give them a helping hand and help provide them with the eye healthcare they need so they can have a better vision for tomorrow.