News / Asia

Doctors Carry Out Mass Surgeries in Burma to Reverse Blindness

Doctors Carry Out Mass Surgeries in Burma to Reverse Blindnessi
X
October 28, 2013 3:27 PM
Burma has one of the highest rates of blindness in the world, afflicting an estimated 8.1 percent of the population in rural areas. More than half of the cases are due to cataracts, which cloud the eye lens over time. Now, a team of Nepalese cataract experts have been allowed into the country to perform more than a 1,000 free operations in what is hoped to be the first of many such ventures. Steve Sandford reports for VOA from Rangoon, Burma.
Doctors Carry Out Mass Surgeries in Burma to Reverse Blindness
Burma has one of the highest rates of blindness in the world, afflicting an estimated 8.1 percent of the population in rural areas. More than half of the cases are due to cataracts, which cloud the eye lens over time. Now, a team of Nepalese cataract experts have been allowed into the country to perform more than a 1,000 free operations in what is hoped to be the first of many such ventures.

Here at the Yangon Eye Hospital, an amazing transformation has recently occurred.
 
In a matter of weeks, a joint medical team from Nepal and Burma will have completed more than 1200 free cataract operations - a treatable eye disease that leads to impaired vision - and sometimes blindness.
 
The numbers are daunting, but for the hospital director, Dr. Tin Win, a big part of the problem is lack of knowledge.
 
“The tradition in Myanmar [Burma] is they are very apprehensive to undergo surgery so they don’t want to be operated. They are afraid. They accept a cataract as an aging process. It’s true. It’s an aging process but this process can be overcome by surgery,” said Tin Win.
 
The massive endeavor is being led by Nepalese Dr. Sanduk Ruit, who helped develop the low-cost, high-volume, surgical technique that replaces the eye lens. Dr. Ruit's team from the Tilganga Eye Centre has carried out operations in locations such as North Korea, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
 
Now, the doctor is eager to help spread his expertise and training in a country where basic medical assistance is still too costly for most.

“It's very important that we take this service to the community level at different parts of Myanmar and I hope the Ministry of Health will give us non-obstructive passage,” said Ruit.
 
The surgery can be a life altering moment for many of these patients, who have had difficulty seeing for years.
 
For Daw Tin Hla, simple tasks like pouring a glass of water and cooking would now, once again, be easier. “I am really happy because I have got my sight again. They told me to walk slowly but I didn’t. I am eager to walk very quickly. After the operation I feel free.”
 
While the first group of patients readjusts to their improved vision, the team hopes to train community doctors and paramedics to carry on the work.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid