Hiba Karayra, Fondokomia, October 2011
At only 20 years of age, Hiba Karayra, from Fondokomia, near Jenin, already suffers from proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Diagnosed with diabetes at the age of six, Hiba barely finished the eleventh grade at school and has never worked. Her vision is very low.
Hiba’s parents are first cousins. Her father, 47, suffers from a disability in his left leg, but works as a cleaner for 2000 Israeli Shekels (£346; $555) monthly.
Hiba’s mother is 36 years old and in good health. She is a house-wife and looks after Hiba and her three brothers and two sisters – all of whom are healthy and at school.
When she came to our Jerusalem Hospital in October, 2011, to treat her retinopathy, Hiba required immediate panretinal photocoagulation laser sessions. Retinopathy occurs as new blood vessels form at the back of the eye, which bleed and blur vision. Photocoagulation shrinks the abnormal blood vessels by treating with scattered laser burns. The treatment is usually done in two or more sessions. Vision is blurred for a short while after the procedure with some loss of peripheral vision or night vision possible.
Surgery often slows or stops the progression of diabetic retinopathy, but it's not a cure. Because diabetes is a lifelong condition, future retinal damage and vision loss is possible. Even after treatment for diabetic retinopathy, regular eye exams are essential and additional treatment may be required.
Hiba’s treatments will at least ensure the temporary regression of active disease and the prevention of complications. However, the burden of looking after someone with low vision – including the costs of treatment and travel – as well as a large family is a heavy one for Mr and Mrs Karayra.
The economic hardship that the family suffers was judged extreme enough for our social worker to exempt Hiba from the cost of her laser sessions. These were paid for through our Patient Relief Fund.
The Karayra Family wished to thank all at the St.John Eye Hospital, as well as its supporters, for its help in making their lives that little bit easier.
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