Dr. Oliva’s 2017 Expedition
In February 2017, Dr. Matt Oliva ventured to Myanmar to work with corneal surgeons at Yangon Eye Hospital. Throughout the campaign, Dr. Oliva assisted local ophthalmologists in performing corneal transplants, delivered lectures on surgical techniques, and conducted trainings with ophthalmology residents.
During the exchange, the team of surgeons completed a number of vision-correcting surgeries, observed by crowd of 20 medical residents and junior faculty. In partnering with local eye care providers, Dr. Oliva provided several hands-on workshops, and educated medical teams on advanced technology and available resources to aid with sight-restoring campaigns for the local population.
There is currently a long waiting list of patients in need vision-correcting surgeries in Myanmar. Fortunately, there is also high awareness of eye donation in the country, where there is much corneal blindness to be treated. To encourage eye bank contributions in Myanmar, which is culturally supportive of corneal care options, there is no processing fee in place for donations, and all care at government hospitals is free. Local monasteries also provide monetary donations to generously help cover costs of corneal transplants.
Dr. Oliva’s mission on this campaign included connecting local teams with SightLife, a non-profit global health organization focused on eliminating corneal blindness around the world. The leadership at Yangon Eye Hospital is looking forward to participating in the global eye banking community, reports Oliva, and growing their own eye bank considerably to best serve their population’s needs.
“I’m looking forward to working together with everyone to expand corneal care in Myanmar,” says Oliva. “Thanks to everyone who made this exchange possible.”