Banbury opticians help improve Cambodian eye health

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Two Banbury opticians have helped improve the eye health of the people of Cambodia.

Nimish Desai and Manjot Panesar, optometrists at Specsavers on Bridge Street, travelled to Phnom Penh in December to support a clinic run by the Khmer Sight Foundation.

Over five days, the team, who were all self-funded – made up of five optometrists, five surgeons and one nurse – saw more than 200 patients, half of whom went on to have eye surgery.

“I really hadn’t appreciated the severity of the situation regarding vision problems in Cambodia until we got there,” said Nimish.

“From the early hours of the morning people would queue outside the clinic waiting to be seen. After examining each of them we would decide which treatment or surgery they needed, and then carried out post-operative care for those who had surgery.”

Some 10,000 Cambodians suffer blindness each year, 90 per cent of it avoidable. Three-quarters of blindness is due to cataracts, and the rest is due to uncorrected vision, glaucoma, corneal scarring and pterygium.

“We were surprised by how young some of the patients with cataracts were. This is mainly due to them working outdoors and the UV exposure they are subjected to,” added Nimish.

“We also saw lots of elderly patients too, struggling to even walk into the clinic due to poor vision.”

The pair hope to return this November. To donate to the foundation, pop into the store or call 01295 251251.