MADRID — A refugee infant from Syria who was born without an eye and with a seriously disfigured face successfully underwent eye surgery at a Barcelona hospital on Friday, after being granted a special visa from Spain to receive free treatment.
Antoni Arias-Enrich, the director of international services at the Sant Joan de Déu hospital in Barcelona, said that the baby girl, Sham Aldaher, would probably be able to leave the hospital by early next week, although more surgery will be required for her to receive a prosthetic eye.

Sham, who celebrated her first birthday last month, was born to Syrian refugees in Jordan, and the first stage of surgery was crucial to avoid permanent disfigurement while her face is still growing.

Even after Sham’s case was taken up by lawyers working pro bono from Reed Smith, an American law firm, the legal team spent months struggling to obtain a visa that would allow the infant and her family to receive treatment overseas. The Barcelona hospital agreed to perform the surgery free in March.

Joan Prat and Ester Casas, surgical ophthalmologists at the Barcelona hospital, enlarged the orbit of the missing eye on Friday, inserting a graft of skin and subdermal tissue from the buttocks. The prosthetic eye will be inserted in about three months, as part of a second phase of reconstructive surgery.