Asia

Nepal

  • Population: 30,986,975
  • Number of Ophthalmologists: 110
  • Blind Population: 600,000
  • Population Living < $2/day: 57% 

Nepal has eight of the world’s 10 tallest mountains. The high elevation makes people particularly susceptible to cataracts, and poor nutrition and a lack of health care contribute to high rates of other blinding conditions.

For decades, Dr. Sanduk Ruit has led the fight against blindness in Nepal by partnering with inter­national organizations like the Moran Eye Center to provide training and care. Moran operates an educational exchange program in Nepal, which teaches residents how to deliver high-quality care in the developing world. 

Today, Nepal is an impressive example of how a developing nation can create sustainable eye care. Despite continuing public health challenges, Nepal has reached the threshold where its rate of preventable blindness is dropping. Fewer people are struck with blinding conditions each year than are cured. 

India

  • Population: 1,236,344,631
  • Number of Ophthalmologists: 11,000
  • Blind Population: 15,000,000
  • Population Living < $2/day: 69%

As a newly industrialized country, India faces extreme poverty and malnutrition. India is the world’s second most populous country, and nearly half of the world’s blind population lives there, with 12 million people suffering from preventable or treatable blinding conditions. Many of the international physicians and residents who rotate through Moran each year come from India, and we help them acquire new skills and techniques that they can implement in their home hospitals. 

Indonesia

  • Population: 253,609,643
  • Number of Ophthalmologists: 1240
  • Blind Population: 3,500,000 or
  • 1.5% Population Living < $2/day: 43%

Comprised of thousands of far-flung islands, Indonesia is a nation of extreme income inequal­ity. Poverty is concentrated in rural areas, which have the added challenges of geographic isolation and lack of health care.

Dr. Robert Hoffman trains pediatric ophthalmologists in Indonesia, building relationships with gifted individuals interested in becoming educators. This includes Dr. Rozalina Loebis, the first pediatric ophthalmologist in Indonesia. She trained at the Moran Eye Center in 2012. Dr. Hoffman continues to travel to Indonesia to work with Dr. Loebis, who has begun training additional doctors from her institution in pediatric eye care.

Bhutan

  • Population: 733,643
  • Number of Ophthalmologists: 3
  • Population Living < $2/day: 29%

In 2012, Dr. Paul Bernstein made Bhutan’s national news when he performed the country’s first retinal surgery with Dr. Bhim Rai, Bhutan’s first and only retinal surgeon. Dr. Bernstein continues to travel to Bhutan to work with Dr. Rai. Together they treat patients with retinal diseases and train other ophthalmologists.

Dr. Rai, one of only seven ophthalmologists in his country, has recently started an ophthalmology residency program to train additional surgeons. His first two residents will become the first Bhutanese ophthalmologists trained in their own country. Dr. Rai’s program offers a rigorous academic curriculum that includes regularly scheduled grand rounds, case presentations, journal clubs, and conferences. 

Micronesia and Guam

Guam

  • Population: 161,001
  • Number of Ophthalmologists: 1 

Micronesia

  • Population: 105,681
  • Number of Ophthalmologists: 0
  • Population Living < $2/day: 45%

Glaucoma specialist Dr. Craig Chaya has been working in Guam since 2010. A U.S. territory, Guam has a good medical infrastructure. However, many patients go untreated because they are underinsured or uninsured. There are also no glaucoma specialists; for that specialty, patients must travel to the Philippines or Hawaii for care.

The Moran Outreach Team is working with a clinic from Guam to train the very first oph­thalmologist in Micronesia, ever. The nation is remote—made up of hundreds of islands that lack transportation—and the backlog of blind­ness is staggering. 

Myanmar

  • Population: 55,746,253
  • Number of Ophthalmologists: 66
  • Blind Population: 8.1%

Myanmar ranks among the lowest nations in the world for percent of GDP spent on health care. Public hospitals lack basic facilities and equipment, and care is not always available.

HIV/AIDS is prevalent in Myanmar. As the immune system breaks down, the eye becomes susceptible to infection as well as issues like retinal hemorrhaging, detached retina, and cancer. Luckily, treatment is available for many AIDS-related blinding conditions, and AIDS doctors in Myanmar are begin­ning to give retinal injections. Dr. Albert Vitale trains physicians in Myanmar to detect and treat the ocular complications of AIDS