Our Asia Retina Team recently embarked on an overseas mission trip to Cambodia in June, to provide comprehensive eye screening to 800 villagers in the rural province of Takeo, where there is no access to medical care. Our team screened for common eye conditions including cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and provided reading glasses to each villager.
Spanning a duration of 4 days, our entire Asia Retina Team of 7 people travelled to Takeo Province, which is a 2-hour bus ride from Phnom Penh City. The mission was jointly organized together with Compassion, SEA and Essilor Vision Foundation, who very kindly sponsored close to 800 pairs of spectacles for the villagers. In addition to these sponsored spectacles, our team also brought up 100 pairs of donated glasses collected from patients through a donation drive held at their clinic. Our team also brought up eyedrop samples which were kindly provided by Alcon and Zeiss (big thank you to everyone who supported us!).
“It was a very fruitful mission, as every villager received a pair of spectacles and a bottle of eyedrops. No villager went home empty-handed,” says our Medical Director Dr. Claudine Pang. “The most common conditions we found were allergic conjunctivitis due to their dusty surroundings, as well as pterygiums and cataracts due to the excessive UV-exposure from the sun.” The team is planning to return to Cambodia in August to perform cataract surgery for those who are visually impaired.
“One way to prevent cataract formation in the children is to provide them with UV-protective sunglasses.” With the sponsorship from Essilor Vision Foundation, the Asia Retina Team gave out a pair of sunglasses to each child and will be doing so again when they return in August later this year.
“I think the trip was a great experience for the entire team, as it inculcates a sense of purpose in everyone. It is a great team building activity in which we are able to help others at the same time. I definitely see the benefits of organizing such overseas mission trips for the team on a regular basis, as the team gets to bond while making a true difference in others’ lives,” says Dr. Pang, who also brought her family to Cambodia in March 2018 on a family mission trip. Dr. Pang believes firmly in giving back to the community, especially those in under-developed countries.