‘Pellet has detached Hiba’s retina, stares at blindness’

Undergoes second surgery at SMHS Hospital

Srinagar: Pellet has caused “total retinal detachment” in 19-month old Hiba Jan’s eye, a doctor who was part of the team that operated upon her injured eye today at SMHS Hospital said. He said that although the detachment had been repaired, but the success of the procedure would be known in a couple of days.

Retinal detachment is a condition in which retina, a layer on which image is formed in the eye, separates from the layer behind it. If the retina has detached entirely, it results in complete blindness, a senior ophthalmologist at SMHS Hospital said. In an attempt to salvage vision in her injured right eye, a team led by a vitreo-retinal surgeon performed Vitrectomy on her eye, in addition to fixing the retina back to its original position.

Doctors remained guarded while commenting about the outcome of her surgery. “The injured eye was not good at all. We have done the best we could, but can’t predict anything in such cases,” a senior surgeon said.

Although in older patients the procedure is done under local anesthesia, Hiba, being a little child and “difficult to be settled for surgery” was given a general anesthesia.

The three hours that Hiba Jan was inside the ophthalmology operation theatre of SMHS Hospital were the longest for her parents. Frozen around her hospital bed, the couple wept silently, as other relatives and attendants of patients tried to assure them that their daughter would be alright.

When Hiba was brought out of the theatre, a thick padding and bandage was back on her eye— like the day pellet pierced her eyelid, making a hole in her eyeball and causing serious injuries to various parts inside. She continued to sleep under the effect of anesthesia, even as her parents kept calling out her name, kissing her face and tickling her soles as directed by a doctor.

The couple broke down many times as attendants of other patients urged them to eat. “She is starving, how can I eat?” Marsala Jan, Hiba’s mother cried. For the surgery, Hiba had been kept fasting seven hours prior to surgery. “She is not to be fed anything for next four hours,” a doctor instructed the parents after the surgery.

Hiba is the youngest victim of pellet shotguns, doctors at the hospital said. She will be 20-month old on Thursday. She was injured when pellets fired by government forces hit her at the door of her house as her mother tried to leave the dwelling full of tear smoke when clashes broke out after an encounter in adjoining village on November 25. Government has announced an inquiry into the incident. A compensation of Rs 1 lakh was also given to the family.