Until recently, Myanmar (formerly Burma) was effectively closed off from the rest of the world. But isolation couldn’t make them immune from the debilitating effects of blindness—and only crystalized the desperate need for more highly trained surgeons to treat it.
Dr. Chu joined Hawaiian Eye Foundation (HEF) volunteer faculty this August in traveling to the capital city of Yangon for Myanmar’s second Western eye surgical training program. While there, he performed surgery while instructing dozens of Burmese ophthalmologists and ophthalmologist residents on the latest technologies and procedures.
This was the next step towards moving Burmese eye residents beyond “book learning” and into 21st century eye exam and surgical techniques, including advanced procedures to address cataracts—the number one preventable cause of blindness worldwide.
In many countries, cataracts sufferers require a sighted person to guide them through daily life. Cataract surgery gives patients back their independence, and also increases the productivity of former sighted guides.
The positive patient outcomes of calm persistence and expert hands in the operating room, addressing the relatively smaller anatomical dimensions of Burmese eyes, go far beyond improved vision.