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FSV & POB arranges eye check up of children at blind school in Sialkot, Pakistan

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True blindness is not the loss of sight, its loss of Vision!

This dawned upon me the day I happened to visit a school for blind children in outskirts of Sialkot, a city located in central Punjab which is known for its excellence in the manufacture of world class sports goods.  The medical students outnumbered the doctors, they were around 90 students who volunteered to visit the blind school. The team was headed by Dr. Intzar Butt, head of ophthalmology department at KMS Medical college and chair for FIMA save vision and director of prevention of blindness trust.

The purpose was to examine the students for any treatable blindness, interact with the students and motivate them, rather on the contrary, their self-confidence and courage turned out to be a motivation for the visiting medics.  Who were excited to witness the par excellence talent and intelligence and learnt how skillfully the blind kids managed to live with their deficiencies.

After a brief introduction of the school by the vice principal we visited the classrooms to meet with the children. There were 48 students who were studying in different grades in the blind school. Here they are taught how to read and write Braille letters, as they have their textbooks converted into Braille letters. And it was fascinating to see how those children can read fluently by touching the dots of Braille with their fingertips.

After class visits, we along with all those 48 little angels gathered in a room where the display of their talent, confidence and IQ made us feel that they are not 'Disabled' but 'Definitely abler than many'.

The amazing part of our visit was seeing all of the students playing, running here and there without even tripling making us doubt that they couldn't see. Above all, when we tried to help any student opening gifts, they would bluntly refuse help saying 'No! We can do it ourselves'.

They asked us to take selfies with them in our mobiles. After that, a 7 year old cutie pie excitedly asked me to show pictures I had taken with them. I put the camera in front him. I can't see them,' he said his face flushing with joy,' but still I'm happy I’ve taken pictures!.' I couldn't hold back my tears. These little angels deserve the best in this world and hereafter. The smile they had on their faces gave us a lesson to thank Allah Almighty for every blessing we have.

Meanwhile , Dr intizar Butt and Dr.Shahid Dayal were screening the students. The medical students took detailed history and relevenat notes and later documented all the findings and observations made by the consultants. 40 blind children were examined in detail with detailed history, anterior segment examination with handheld slit lamp, refraction and low vision aids and posterior segment examination with direct and indirect opthalmoscope. Alhumdulilah about 10 children were improved with refraction and low vision aids. Few had congenital cataract and they were referred to Eye department of KMSMC Sialkot for future treatment and managment. The other predominant causes of blindness were Corneal scarring, micropthalmos, Retinitis pigmentosa, congenital glaucoma, optic nerve atrophy and retinal detachment.

Meeting with these epitomes of courage, love and confidence made my day. We were sent to motivate these students but the reverse happened!
I salute the team of FIMA Save vision & POB Trust for making life easier for them this way. We were so happy to see them and I wish we could also help them see the colours of world around them.

Iqra Zulfiqar
Final year student
Khawja Muhammad Safdar Medical College Sialkot

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The Federation of Islamic Medical Associations (FIMA) is a registered body of 29 IMAs and 17 associate members worldwide, representing about 50,000 Muslim medical and health professionals. The mission of FIMA is to provide a platform for Muslim Physicians world wide in the areas of Medical education and ethics, Student camps and humanitarian and medical relief. It is a not-for-profit, non-political and non-Governmental organization.

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