We registered 230 patients in five and a half days, 40 of whom were operated on and 150 of whom got spectacles. The spectacle workshop was one of the highlights for me. Johann was in charge and he brought about 250 pairs of used spectacles from Germany. These were no longer wanted by their former owners, because they needed stronger lenses or just fancied more fashionable frames. The only way to fit patients needing glasses to a pile of existing glasses is to have them try on pair after pair, until we could locate the best five out of twenty, then pick the best pair of all. Not a high tech approach, but most patients were happy with their new spectacles. If the patient had significant disparity of vision between the right and left eyes, then we did Refraction, which identifies the strength of lens required for each eye. Johann had brought many empty frames and also new lenses, purchased in Thailand. He then proceeded to train local people to administer the Refraction test, trim down the correct lenses and fit them to the frames chosen by the patient. This was a very successful part of the Eye Camp, and we hope that the newly trained folks will be able to continue to supply custom eye glasses to the local people. Dr Wolfgang donated the Refraction tool and has offered to keep them supplied with lenses and frames.
All in all, the Eye Camp was a great success, and my participation in it was the most satisfying work I have done here, so far. It has bucked my spirits up considerably. Dr Wolfgang has asked me to join him again next year and to help develop a portable power set-up, that would allow him to push further inside Burma. He has a clinic just over the border from Mae Sot, but he would like to extend eye care to the poorest, most remote villages in eastern Burma. It’s wonderful work, and I hope I can help him in the future.
Although being completely involved with the Eye Clinic, Napawlulu has just accepted a 16-month old child who is HIV positive and also has TB. Medicine for both conditions will be provided by the Thai-Burma Border Consortium.
My 1” black poly pipe finally arrived from Bangkok, but through the good offices of a friend rather than the lame hardware store in town! This week I am off to Whispering Seed to help with a rainwater catchment system and design the future PV expansion.