At the age of 68, Yean Sen from Kampong Thom Province has been given a new view on life following sight-saving surgery to relieve her glaucoma and remove a cataract by Sight For All-trained glaucoma specialist Dr Ny Tharath, performed at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital Eye Clinic in Phnom Penh
“I am very proud to be a glaucoma specialist trained by Sight For All. I have learnt a lot from visiting doctors and I am using that skill and knowledge to save the sight of some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people suffering glaucoma in rural Cambodia ”– Dr Ny Tharath
Yean Sen, 68, accompanied by her daughter and granddaughter-in-law sat in the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital (KSFH) eye clinic waiting for her examination.
She had travelled 200km from her home in Kampong Thom Province, a village ravaged by civil war which had no specialised eye clinic.
Yean Sen was blind in both eyes from acute angle closure glaucoma (AACAG) and had a cataract in her right eye.
Visual Acuity (VA) testing established that Yean Sen had No Perception of Light (NPL) in her left eye and vision up to only three metres in her right eye.
Meeting with Sight For All-trained glaucoma specialist Dr Ny Tharath, Yean Sen told of her suffering.
“My life is difficult, it is very hard to see and it is painful in my eyes and head. I cannot sleep,” she said.
After examining her eyes’ intra-ocular pressure (IOP), Dr Tharath confirmed it was an emergency case. Yean Sen’s left eye was in the final stages of vision loss and vision in her right eye was seriously impaired by a cataract and glaucoma.
“We need to reduce IOP first by using eye drops, then laser surgery and follow-up consultation,” he said.
“This is a special case where I will perform cataract implantation and a Trabecolectomy for the glaucoma.”
Yean Sen returned the next day with a smile. The eye drops had reduced the pain caused by intra-ocular pressure. She underwent laser therapy that day to treat her glaucoma and had further surgery the following week on her right eye to treat the cataract.
Dr Tharath said he is able to restore the sight of those suffering from glaucoma thanks to the training and equipment he has received from Sight For All.
“I am very proud to be a glaucoma specialist trained by Sight For All,” Dr Tharath said.
“I have learnt a lot from visiting doctors and I am using that skill and knowledge to save the sight of some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people suffering glaucoma in rural Cambodia.”
Dr Tharath said there was a huge need for glaucoma treatment services in Cambodia.
“In 2017, 443 cases of glaucoma were surgically treated, with another 1,391 cases receiving laser treatment,” he said.
Glaucoma is one of the top three causes of blindness in Cambodia, with an estimated 30,000 Cambodians suffering chronic glaucoma and another 90,000 people suspected of having glaucoma.
“I am sure I can save the sight of people like Yean Sen through skills acquired from visiting doctors from Australia and New Zealand and using the latest equipment Sight For All has provided such as the Visualfield, Ocular Computer Tonometer (OCT) and Fundus Camera,” Dr Tharath said.
“Without these skills and the necessary equipment for investigating and diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment monitoring, I cannot do my job properly.”
Yean Sen being examined by glaucoma specialist Dr Ny Tharath at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh