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Hawaiian Eye Foundation conducts third surgical training program in Myanmar

Twenty volunteer U.S. ophthalmologists traveled to Yangon, Myanmar in September for the five-day Myanmar Eye Meeting (MEM). The meeting, held at the Yangon Eye Hospital and conducted by the Hawaiian Eye Foundation, was the country’s third MEM eye-surgical training program since the country’s opening to democracy.

More than 100 Burmese ophthalmology students and practicing ophthalmologists attended MEM, which was sponsored by Zeiss International and American Vision Myanmar. Lectures, patient consultations, and live surgery demonstrations covered didactic topics including glaucoma, cataracts, plastics, neuro-ophthalmology, refractive, pediatric, corneal, and retinal disorders. More than 300 patient examinations and 53 surgeries were done to teach local doctors and assist with their difficult cases.

In addition, MEM featured hands-on basic skills training workshops for local residents on topics such as retinoscopy, refraction, keratometry, lensometry, tonometry, indirect ophthalmology, gonioscopy, visual fields, pediatric exams, and optical coherence tomography.

The doctors and fellow faculty members traveled to Myanmar at their own expense to donate their time. “We are really doing this for the patients of our Burmese colleagues,” said Dr. John Corboy, president of Hawaiian Eye Foundation. “They are the ones who benefit from the enhanced skills we impart to their surgeons.” Myanmar has 350 ophthalmologists for 55 million people, a ratio of one ophthalmologist for 160,000 people.

Mary O’Hara, MD, UC Davis School of Medicine (right), shares her surgical skills during the MEM surgical training program.

Hawaiian Eye Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, was invited to return for MEM IV in 2019 and expand to the Mandalay region of Myanmar for a similar training program. For more information, visit .


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