15 Jun 2013

Eye specialist helps Cambodia treat childhood eye problems

1:47 pm on 15 June 2013

A New Zealand ophthalmologist will travel to Cambodia to help show local surgeons how to treat eye problems in children.

Dr Jim Mora.

Dr Jim Mora. Photo: SUPPLIED

Australia-based charity Sight For All Foundation is paying to send 12 eye specialists to Cambodia over the next 18 months.

Justin Mora will be the first, and says when he arrives next month he will begin teaching two ophthalmologists how to treat children, because Cambodian eye surgeons are trained only in adult eye care.

Dr Mora says children born with cataracts in Southeast Asian countries are often left untreated and go blind because there is no access to dedicated services.

He says early screening tests that in Western nations identify visual impairments in children are not available in Third World countries.

Dr Mora says three quarters of blindness worldwide is preventable or treatable if detected at this early stage.

About 45% of the world's blind people are in Southeast Asia, he says.