Eye Management



Al-Tunisi in his description of life in Darfur during the Fur Sultanate, recorded that the Shallanqin (sing. Shallanq) were the eye surgeons in those times, and that they were extremely competent in lens extraction in al-katarata (cataract).[1] Tashliq (couching) is surgical displacement of an opaque eye lens in moya bayda (cataract) using a thorn of Acacia arabica or a sharp needle. In this operation, an immediate regain of some vision is achieved, but invariably followed by complications, and deterioration of vision due to the effect of the lens left behind. The operation[2] is mainly performed by Nigerians.[3]

Ras al-qoam (…) is used to treat eye infections in the Ngurtati area of Jebel Merra. When the eye is inflamed or swollen it is washed with a strong decoction of tea. Eye drops of either hajar maqar, shebb (Alum), mixed in human milk, honey or onion juice, or alternatively, the juice of doqra leaves (peculiar to Darfur), or honey with black antimony, are applied to the eye, or rashad seeds dropped in.

Tashash (blurred vision) and akula (itching) of the eye are treated, in central Muslim Sudan, with the recipe of Shaikh Al-Tayib Wad Al-Marhi called saqam fakka (instant cure). The recipe is a powder of a mixture of sinbil (spikenard, Andropogon nardus), qurunful (cloves), mahlab (Hypoestes verticillaris), filfil (Capsicum annuum), and kohl (antimony).


[1] Muhammad Ibn ‘Omar Al-Tunisi. Tashhidh Al-Adhhan Bi-Sirat Bilad Al-‘Arab Wa-‘l-Sudan (Arabic), (Eds) Khalil M. ‘Asaker and Mustafa l. Mus’ad, Cairo: Al Dar Al Masriya Lil-Ta’lif wal-Tarjama, 1965: page 277.

[2] Throughout West Africa, Nigerians are known to be skilful in couching.

[3] Awad Al-Basha. Couching for Cataract in Western Sudan [M.S. Thesis]. Khartoum: University of Khartoum; 1980.




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