It’s not very often you come across a genuine life changer. It’s even rarer to find one that takes just fifteen minutes! But cataract surgery is exactly that. It’s medical intervention that stops just short of ‘unbelievable’. If you happen to ask one of the hundreds of patients of the Battambang Ophthalmic Clinic (BOC) – the ability to see is an out and out miracle!
Cambodia presently has an incident rate of around 20,000 new cases of cataract each year. The country has only 46 eye doctors (mostly found in Phnom Penh) and 18 eye units. Combined with an outstanding backlog of around 80,000 cataract cases the problem seems insurmountable.
However since September 2007 BOC in partnership with the 2h Project has conducted nearly 20,000 village eye screenings and performed over 6,500 eye surgeries! As the first non government, not for profit organisation committed to reducing avoidable blindness in Cambodia, BOC is having a significant impact.
In fact the diminishing backlog in the present target area means that the programmed outreach to neighbouring provinces can now begin. In developing a sustainable model of eye care BOC is training a network of village health volunteers, implementing primary eye care training for some 2,500 school teachers and plans to roll out the first mobile eye clinic in the country.
While the problem might at first seem impossible, with ‘one eye at a time’ things are starting to look very different!