Saving sight in Cambodia: Khmer Sight Foundation, Official Charity Partner
Khmer Sight Foundation (KSF) is working to tackle the issue of blindness in Cambodia by performing sight-saving operations for those who cannot afford them, as well as investing in the country’s own ophthalmologists through teaching and training. Khmer Sight Foundation also supports volunteer surgeons who provide free eye surgeries for the poorest communities in remote parts of Cambodia.
Did you know there are no optometrists and only 35 ophthalmologists serving a population of 16 million in Cambodia?
After the blight of the Khmer Rouge, a communist movement resulting in the massacre of a quarter of Cambodia’s population, there has been a significant loss of key healthcare and eyecare knowledge. This, in combination with the extreme poverty prevalent in Cambodia and the shortage of health manpower, infrastructure and facilities, has led to a widespread eyecare problem.
Out of the country’s 16 million people, it is estimated that 200,000 men, women and children are completely blind. The leading cause of blindness in the country is cataracts, which are both preventable and reversible with an effective, cost-effective and life-changing operation. A simple procedure that takes just 20 minutes and costs $40 can give a Cambodian sight and change a family’s life.
However, most sufferers are unable to work and support themselves or their families. They are extremely poor with little or no access to healthcare services, including this simple but effective operation.
Khmer Sight Foundation are working to not only provide these life-changing procedures, but also to support the training and education of the local population. Despite the challenges of staffing and operating locations, they are continuing to grow. In 2018 alone, KSF operated on 2,170 patients.
KSF also aims to develop sustainable eye care in the future. The Cambodian government has recently increased the number of training programs for ophthalmology specialisation in Cambodia. Alongside this, the government, in association with KSF, has begun work upon a new ophthalmology complex in Phnom Penh. This will create a one-stop centre for eye screening and operations. Free ophthalmic surgery will be undertaken here with KSF international volunteers as well as local Cambodian ophthalmologists. The complex will also house a new school of optometry and teaching facilities for local ophthalmologists.
The setup will allow the current generation of local specialists to become self-reliant and ready to take on the challenge of eradicating avoidable blindness. KSF’s priority is to reach the greatest number of unserved blind people, with the highest quality care at the lowest cost possible. The common goal is the elimination of avoidable blindness in Cambodia by the year 2020.
However, there is still a long way to go until KSF can eradicate avoidable blindness. They need your help and support to treat patients, train graduates and change the lives of the Cambodian people.
How can you help?
Donate money or equipment to help improve KSF's medical facilities and provide scholarships for local Cambodian graduates who wish to learn more about eye care. You can find their donation page here.
Assist directly with KSF's mission. Whether you are a medical specialist, intern, student or administrator - KSF could use your help. Find out more at khmersight.com.
KSF & Optrafair
You can find Khmer Sight Foundation on Stand G100 at Optrafair to find out more about the charity and how you can get involved. Professor Sunil Shah, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Midland Eye Private Clinic in Solihull, and International Medical Chair of KSF, will also be performing live femto-second laser cataract surgery and answering your questions - don't miss out!