Hawaiian Eye Foundation Volunteer Surgeons Train Eye Doctors in Cambodia

Press Release updated: Oct 23, 2018

Highly trained and valuably skilled ophthalmologists from across the U.S., Canada, England and Asia joined together to form a 27-member volunteer team that traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, this month. The five-day Cambodia Eye Meeting (CEM) was held at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, conducted by the Hawaiian Eye Foundation (HEF), and sponsored by Alcon International, Allergan and SightLife. Local sponsors in Cambodia were Ashford Laboratories Ltd., Image Pharma and MEES. CEM was attended by over 190 Cambodian ophthalmologists, ophthalmology residents, nurses and guests.

This inaugural, comprehensive, international ophthalmic program included a wide range of didactic topics in glaucoma, oculoplastics, neuro-ophthalmology, cornea, retina, pediatric ophthalmology, cataract and refractive surgery, all covered in lectures, patient consultations and surgery demonstrations. Over 285 patients were examined and 33 surgeries were done to teach local doctors and assist with their difficult cases. The first Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty, known as a “DMEK” or corneal tissue transplant, was performed in Cambodia during this mission, under the tutelage of Dr. Allen Eghrari of John Hopkins University. With only 38 ophthalmologists for over 16 million people in Cambodia, training is crucial. Follow-up appointments confirm that all surgeries were successful. While providing valuable educational experience, our world-renowned specialists continue to save sight. Our humble thanks to surgeons Drs. Philip Custer, Allen Eghrari, Charity Grannis, Chirag Jhaveri, Manchima Makornwattana, Deepak Sobti, Prem Subramanian, Pham Nhu Vinh Tuyen and David Yu for sharing their skills and knowledge. 

Hands-on basic skills training workshops were held for 34 residents of Ophthalmology. Topics included retinoscopy, refraction, keratometry, lensometry, tonometry, A/B scan, Biometry, IOL calculation, pediatric exam/strabismus, visual fields, tonometry, gonioscopy, indirect ophthalmology, optical coherence tomography, direct ophthalmology, slit lamp exam and a suture wet lab. Students were given one-on-one training in each skill. Sincere thanks to Drs. Uma Chaluvadi, John Corboy, Nathan Hamburger, Jonathan Hantman, Diane Houtman, Bill Hewak and Susan Ruyle, along with Ophthalmic Technicians Megan Bergeson, Barbara Elmore, Carly Helm, Willow Post and Dana Stroud. Special thanks to student volunteers Austin Couvillion and Carson Yu, and photographer Julia Miller.

HEF’s volunteer faculty traveled at their own expense to donate their time to the Cambodian Ministry of Health, the National Program for Eye Health (NPEH), the Cambodia Ophthalmology Society and the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital. “We humbly expand HEF’s SE Asian training programs for the purpose of growing ophthalmology and sharing the latest techniques with our new friends and colleagues. Our goal is to help train the next generation of eye care providers who will enrich lives throughout Cambodia,” said Darrah Kauhane, executive director of HEF. “We’re honored to work with hosts Drs. Ngy Meng, Do Seiha, Pok Thorn, Kiry Lom Orng and Namgech Khoem to coordinate the meeting.”

Due to its overwhelming success, HEF is invited to return for CEM II. Missions to Laos and Indonesia will also begin in 2019. The foundation’s efforts in this region are demonstrated by its ongoing Vietnamese symposiums, Myanmar Eye Meeting and scholarship programs for SE Asian ophthalmologists. “We will continue to reach out to all those in need of our compassionate care,” noted Dr. John Corboy, the foundation’s president.

The 501(c)(3) non-profit Hawaiian Eye Foundation (HEF) works to ensure that all people have access to quality eye care. Support or join the team at hawaiianeyefoundation.org.

Source: Hawaiian Eye Foundation