Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. In developing countries such as Cambodia, the condition can have disastrous flow-on effects for families and communities.

It is estimated that 3% of people may suffer from some form of glaucoma. It is expected that by 2040, 111 million people will have glaucoma, worldwide. Can you imagine your whole family losing their vision to glaucoma, within a few years?

In 2018 we shared the devastating story of one Cambodian father, Un Sunleap, and his three children. After years of unsuccessful treatments for his children, Un Sunleap travelled more than 100km from Kampong Cham province to Phnom Penh for treatment from Sight For All Fellows at Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital (KSFH).

Glaucoma Fellows Dr Tharath and Dr Sophal were completing their specialised training at KSFH. In December 2017, their training was being supervised by Visionary and Sight For All Board Director Clinical Associate Professor Andrew White. A/Prof White was impressed with the Fellows’ clinical and surgical skills, which had developed significantly in a short period of time.

During this December visit, A/Prof White, Dr Tharath and Dr Sophal met Un and his three children. At the time, Kanika was 14 years of age, Davan was 12 years-old, and Davin was only 6 years-old.

Sadly, the youngest child Davin, was already blind due to glaucoma and no treatment could reverse this outcome.

Both older children had previously unsuccessful treatments, despite travelling to Vietnam to seek medical care. Un Sunleap had been travelling from clinic to clinic seeking help. By December 2017, both Kanika and Davan had lost vision in their left eyes.

With A/Prof White’s guidance, Drs Tharath and Sophal performed laser treatments for both children, with the use of equipment donated by Sight For All. Thankfully, both children responded extremely well to the treatment, and to date have avoided further surgeries.

Since this initial visit in 2017, Kanika and Davan continue to travel the 100 km to Phnom Penh to seek treatment from Drs Tharath and Sophal. Their vision continues to stabilise which is an incredibly positive outcome.

Today, Kanika is completing Year 11. She’s interested in studying law at University. Davan is completing Year 10 and is interested in studying IT when he goes to University. Davin is 10 years-old and studies at a school for the blind.

Towards the end of May 2022, Sight For All’s Executive Officer Judy Hatswell will meet the family in Cambodia, as Sight For All resumes international travel for projects.

Without Sight For All’s unique education model, Un’s two older children would have become needlessly blind – an incredible burden for any family to overcome, let alone one in a developing country.

Will you help us to continue our vital work and change the lives of families like Un’s? Your donation before June 30 will go a long way to providing accessible eye health care where it is most needed.

All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

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