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Times of India
09 June 2011
By Sumitra Deb Roy
Mumbai, India

City Doctors Help Nigerian See the World Again
Nigerian scientist Aleruchi Chuku was able to fully open her eyes after twodecadeson Tuesdayfollowing a surgery at the Bombay Hospital in Marine Lines. All these years, shewatchedtheworldthrough a two–millimeter window as that was the maximum her eyes wouldopen.

The 38–year–old mycologist from Kaduna landed in the city this week in a last–ditch attempt to regain her vision. A trauma toher lefteye atthe ageof12 and subsequent mismanagementof the problem at the age of 18 caused a condition called ‘ptosis’ or drooping eyelids. The failed surgery had led to the weakening of the muscle responsible for raising the eyelid. The damage to the nerves controlling those muscleswassointense that her right eyelid also startedfunctioning abnormally.

Following this surgery, she underwentfour moresurgeries. She was operated on by renowned doctors from the US and Nigeria, but none could offer her a cure. Chuku had to live with problems like swollen eyelids, recurrent fluid accumulation andlittle vision.

Chuku told TOI, "People would stare at me every time I stepped out. My marriage was called off as the groom was uncomfortable with my eyes. My professional life also took a hit. To make things worse, I developed spine problems as I had to raise my necktosee."

At the beginning of this year, her family motivated her to share her condition with doctors from across the globe. That’showshe gotin touchwith eye specialist Dr Nagendra Shah.Chuku remainedin touch with him over emails for four monthsbeforedeciding totravel tothecity for thesurgery.

Shah explained that the surgery was unique in a way as he had to rectify what previous doctors had damaged. "We created lid creases so that the eye looks natural. We also removed extra growths that were dangling out of her eyes," Shah said.
Chuku is flying out of India on Thursday to start preparations for her marriage, which is scheduledfor December.

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