Two brothers who are students from The Canadian International School and also members of the upcoming CIS Ladakh expedition group took up the responsibility and initiative to become productive activists in support of the Himalayan Vision Project prior to their journey to the Himalayas on June 1st. James & Alex Gunn organized the sale of…read more
Himalayan Vision Project – 2014 - 2015
For the first five years of our efforts to bring adequate vision health care to the people of Ladakh, the ophthalmologists, optometrists and surgeons from Global Clinic in Singapore mobilized the major annual vision health care expedition teams that provided enormous benefit to thousands of patients. Through the compassionate efforts of Dr Marcus Ang, Dr Anna Tan and their colleagues we have examined over 7,000 patients in some of the most remote regions of Ladakh. Over 1000 pairs of custom prescription eyeglasses have been measured for, fabricated and provided to the patients free of charge. Over 3,000 pairs of close focusing reading glasses were also distributed to older patients and thousands of doses of hydrating, and antibiotic eye drops were distributed to provide relief for the environmental damage and irritation caused by the lack of adequate hygiene regimens as well the harsh environmental conditions of this extreme high Himalayan region.
Over the past five years Dr Marcus Ang and his teams have brought immeasurable relief and rehabilitation for thousands of vision patients in Ladakh
In 2014, Dr Anna Tan and her team from Global Clinic carried on the work and brought significant benefit to over 1,000 patients who attended the vision health care camp
We have also undertaken the challenge of distributing free, high quality UV protection sunglasses to most patients as well as working together with the schools of the region to make the wearing of sunglasses a mandatory part of the school uniform. Because of the enormious generosity of Madam Wong Sioe Hong in Singapore who has donated over 10,000 pair of these sunglasses to The Himalayan Vision Project, we are able to distribute them free of charge. This protective intervention will help stem the tide of the epidemic prevalence of cataracts caused by the intense sunlight and blowing dust of this extreme high mountain region.
We have also have provided surgical treatments for over 150 patients who needed surgery for cataracts, SJS, traumatic injuries or other eye conditions. Most of the surgeries were performed in Ladakh by teams from Singapore, but some of the patients required evacuation to Hyderabad and the excellent facilities of The LV Prasad Eye Institute.
An alliance for the future
When the excruciating 20 year long struggle of a police officer serving at the Leh airport necessitated that we evacuate him to the world class cornea treatment facilities of the LV Prasad Eye Institute located in the south India city of Hyderabad, we had no idea that it would be as enormously beneficial to the aspirations of all who serve the goals of the Himalayan Vision Project in equal measure as to the wonderful treatment and recovery that Tsering Gyatso received.
Tsering Gyatso was examined by the world renowned cornea specialist Dr Virender Sangwan who immediately recognized that his condition could be enormously improved with a surgical procedure as well as the implementation of a wonderful prosthetic device known as PROSE which was developed by The Boston Foundation for Sight in the USA. During the month long treatment regimen, Tsering Gyatso regained his functional sight and The Himalayan Vision Project received the opportunity to vastly enhance it's capacity and ability to bring vision health care to the people of Ladakh through friendships forged with Dr Sangwan and the possibility that our humble efforts in Ladakh could become part of the LV Prasad Eye Institute's humanitarian network.
Tsering Gyatso and Dr Sangwan at LV Prasad Eye Institute. The surgical treatment by Dr Sangwan as well as the fitting of the PROSE prosthetic device were a complete success and brought relief and improved vision after a 20 year struggle with a very serious illness in both of his eyes
A major component of the historic success of The LV Prasad Eye Institute's humanitarian mandate is it's maintenance of a network of 110 smaller vision health care centers in isolated areas of India. These centers are staffed by LVPEI's trained personnel who provide basic treatment and refraction correction ability in the small clinics or refer the patient to the main hospital in Hyderabad where world class treatments are available on an "ability to pay" basis. During the time spent in Hyderabad with Tsering Gyatso's treatments, conversations were shared with Dr Sangwan as well as the chairman of the hospital Dr Rao and the possibility of our clinic in Ladakh being designated as an official outpost within the LVPEI network was seriously discussed.
In spite of his extremely busy schedule that includes regular surgical duty at LVPEI, research in stem cell and artificial cornea transplant materials and techniques along with world wide speaking engagements at the request of international vision specialists who universally hold Dr Sangwan's capabilities and innovative ambitions in the highest regard, Dr Sangwan travelled to Ladakh in 2014 to personally assess the situation and opportunity for himself.
We were honored and inspired to received Dr Sangwan and his wife Dr Vandana Sangwan in Leh in May of 2014. His reverence for the splendor of the vast and magnificent Himalayan landscape was exceeded only by his compassionate determination to help bring basic vision health care to the good people of Ladakh. His recognition that our clinic and humanitarian motivation could fit seamlessly into the LVPEI network and benefit tremendously from that alliance. When Dr Sangwan departed for Hyderabad, a new day began for The Himalayan Vision Project.
Dr Sangwan and his wife Dr Vandana in Ladakh as well as examining patients in our small vision clinic in Leh
Based on the encouragement from Dr Sangwan after his initial visit to Ladakh, we immediately set out to prepare for the significant increase in capability that was inherent in the alliance proposal with LVPEI.
- Three very bright and capable young Ladakhis were chosen to go to Hyderabad and be trained at the excellent Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry which is a branch training facility for LV Prasad Eye Institute. Upon their return to Ladakh in late 2015, our clinic will have a full time dedicated staff that is trained in the LVPEI system and will be able to not only provide a wide range of treatments and examinations in our vision clinic, but also work seamlessly with teams of vision specialists that will be coming to Ladakh on a regular basis from LVPEI.
Dechen Yangdol, Tondup Angmo & Tsering Lhamo are met by Dr Veeru when they arrived in Hyderabad for their 18 month intensive optometry technician training course in August 2014
- Dr Sangwan also promised to immediately implement the regular arrival visits of vision specialists from LVPEI in order to establish a regular vision health care presence in Ladakh as opposed to the one time a year expeditions strategy we had depended on up until to now. The first team arrived soon after and Dr Uday Kumar and Dr Veeru immediately established a very high standard of productively and compassionate professionalism for large numbers of vision patients they screened and examined over the course of their week long visit. Dr Uday returned at a later date and continued the work at larger schools, monasteries and other remote locations. The first teams from LVPEI will be returning in June of 2015 to work together with the students from two major international schools in Singapore who will be travelling to Ladakh with an impressive community service mandate. The Canadian International School as well as The Tanglin Trust School are currently fund rising in order to be able to donate urgently needed medications and eyeglass fabrication credit for the Vision Project. They will also be providing hands on manpower for the vision camps that will be conducted with physician teams from LVPEI in remote villages in Ladakh during their expedition.
Dr Uday Kumar and Dr Veeru working in our vision clinic in Leh as well as during major, large scale screening and optometry camps at schools in Ladakh
- Expanded vision clinic. In order to prepare for the return of our resident vision clinic team when they graduate in August 2015 as well as to have adequate facilities for the visiting specialist teams from LVPEI, we also immediately started construction on an major expansion of the primary clinic complex. We are building an additional floor on to the existing dental clinic and ward so that the vision clinic will be a separate, autonomous facility. We have excellent quality slit lamps, complete optometry measurement facilities and a wide range of other diagnostic and treatment equipment. With the two large examination and treatment rooms that will be available when the clinic is completed in mid-2015, we will have a world class vision clinic facility worthy of association with the LV Prasad Eye Institute and it's vast capabilities and shared objectives.
Floorplan for the new, expanded vision clinic
Our clinic complex in Leh showing construction progress on the new vision care center as of November, 2014. Work will begin again in March, 2015 and we hope to have the facility fully functional by June of 2015 when teams from LVPEI will once again return to Ladakh for large scale vision health care camps
LV Prasad Eye Institute vision specialists Dr Uday Kumar, Dr Veeru Pesala and our Ladakhi optometry technician trainees plan three major vision health care expeditions to Ladakh June > July, 2015. Over the past two years humanitarian vision specialists from the prestigious LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad have traveled to Ladakh and worked to screen,…read more
ISSUE 1 | VOL 6 | JANUARY 2015 CONTENTSJulley from the Himalayas!BostonSight® Network Giving Back BFS Staff and Board Heart-Filling Gratitude BFS Patients – Please complete our brief Patient Satisfaction Survey. Julley from the Himalayas! Dear Bill, “Julley” is a word in Ladakhi, the predominant language in the Leh district of Ladakh, India, with many meanings. It can…read more
During the July 2010 dental/medical expedition to Nubra Valley, ophthalmic surgeons Dr Pauline Cheong and Dr Ranjana Mathur diagnosed two young patients who required more sophisticated surgical procedures than were feasible with the limited facilities of the Disket Hospital. The original plan was to then host the distinguished ophthalmic surgeon, Dr Ramesh Murthy, of the…read more
On July 17, 2010, Dr. Myra Elliott returned to Ladakh for the third consecutive year in order to continue her follow-up efforts to bring a wide range of dental and medical health care treatment to the people living in one of the most remote areas of the Himalayas. After a year of post-expedition analysis and…read more
Dr. Myra Elliott has committed to bringing another Dental / Medical team to Ladakh in August 2010. This will include a major cataract surgical team led by Dr. Ranjana Sanjay Mathur, director of the Singapore National Eye Center. Dr. Marcus Ang diagnosed over 50 cases of severe cataract conditions during the 2009 expedition and now…read more
By Dr Marcus Ang The truth is that even as the plane landed on the tarmac in Leh, I had no idea where we were. We had spent 8 hours on an overnight plane to Delhi, 6 hours lying on the Domestic Airport floor and 2 hours experiencing turbulence flying over the Great Himalayas. Our…read more
Dr. Elliott’s team arrived in Nubra Valley and after a greeting by most of the community, immediately set up a fully operational dental clinic in the dining hall of Lamdon School in the main village of Disket. In addition, several other classrooms were utilized for private clinics specializing in eye care, general medical conditions as…read more