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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 October, 2003, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
Chernobyl boy's operation
Sacha Gruzd
Sacha Gruzd is recovering following the operation
Surgeons in the UK have operated on a boy whose eyesight is thought to have been affected by radiation following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Sacha Gruzd, 11, from Belarus, underwent the surgery at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich, on Saturday.

At 1300 BST the surgeons said it had been a success.

He had been brought to the UK by the charity Chernobyl Children Lifeline.

Earlier a spokesman for the hospital said Sacha suffered from an absence of the muscle which raises eyelids.

To correct the rare condition muscles would be taken from the boy's leg and grafted into his eyelids.

As a team we all feel for Sacha and we are just glad that we are able to give our time for such a good cause
Consultant surgeon Bijan Beig

"Sacha struggles to see unless he tips his head far back to see through a slit of his eyelids.

"If his condition is left uncorrected he will also develop serious problems with an arthritic neck in the next few years," said the spokesman.

"The delicate three-hour operation will see muscles taken from Sacha's leg, then grafted into his eyelids and finally connected to muscles in his forehead to allow him to then learn to open and close his eyelids."

Surgeons gave their time free and the charity will help pay for aftercare.

Suffered 'emotional pain'

Consultant surgeon Bijan Beigi said: "Sacha's condition presents him with real problems now and relatively soon he will develop other painful problems as a direct result of his condition.

"He's a lovely child who has already suffered not only physical problems but also the emotional pain of being teased about his condition and there is no prospect of a remedy in his own country.

"As a team we all feel for Sacha and we are just glad that we are able to give our time for such a good cause.

"Just 10 years ago we would not have been able to carry out a procedure like this with such ease and he really deserves a chance to have this eye problem corrected. "


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