Marcus Ang on behalf of the Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore
Providing free eye clinics and surgeries in remote Himalayan communities and training local optometrists to manage a sustainable eye-care clinic to provide basic and affordable care
Due to the high altitude where Himalayan communities live, individuals are exposed to both excessive ultraviolet light and harsh, dry conditions. Consequently, these remote communities have a high rate of eye disease (including cataract) and many people suffer from poor vision. There are no eye care specialists or ophthalmologists currently working in the Himalayas, and they are much needed to support a large population (over 25,000 people), for whom basic primary eye care is not available.
This project will support major surgical expeditions to Himalayan communities, offering cataract and pterygium surgeries, as well as post-operative and follow-up care. Further ongoing support for local efforts will be undertaken by the visiting ophthalmologists through telemedicine, to advise the local optometrists in the vision clinic.
Education and training of two local optometrists and two eye-care technicians will form a key part of this project, which after one year will enable them to run a clinic providing screening, spectacle prescription, eye drops and the ability to treat or refer patients with disease. The funding will also allow local nurses to continue educating Himalayan populations on primary eye care through specially developed charts, diagrams and pamphlets.
It is hoped that this project will provide much-needed primary eye care services to the Himalayan population, while the training and education of local optometrists and other healthcare professionals will mean the establishment of a long-term and sustainable eye-care clinic to service the remote communities in this region.
A team of doctors and optometrists continued efforts with the Himalayas Humanitarian Mission to Ladakh, India, from 9-17 August, 2014. Free eye clinics for primary eye care, and mobile clinics to trek out to remote villages, were set up in conjunction with a cataract camp that provided free cataract surgery for the local patients in the following week. Education and training for two local optometrists were also a key feature of the team's mission that year. XOVA funding was used to acquire equipment, eye drops, spectacles and consumables for the treatment of around 2,000 patients.
Last update September 2014.