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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs