The Sumba Foundation has an Eye Care Program with nurses who are dedicated to alleviating the people of Sumba from eye diseases and assisting their refraction needs.
Throughout 2017, we screened 2,561 patients, dispensed 2,262 pairs of eyeglasses, and performed 126 eye operations.
The Australian and Indonesian medical teams now come for one week twice a year, once in May to screen patients and educate the eye care nurses, and again in August to perform more eye screenings and any needed eye operations.
The eye care nurses perform eye screenings and distribute prescription glasses at our clinics throughout the year, and they follow up with patients after the surgery sessions.
The May 2017 primary screening session included four optometrists and one ophthalmologist (Dr. Ellis), along with eye care nurses Sany and Nefry. It took place at two of the foundation’s clinics and at several villages in Elopada and Central Sumba, and we screened a total of 817 patients for eye diseases. Of these, 74 were referred for cataract or pterygium surgery in August, and 693 eyeglasses were dispensed.
Nurses Sany and Nefry took a two-week training earlier that year in March in Sydney, Australia, where they spent time with the Eye Care Program doctors and learned more in-depth knowledge about eye care and eye diseases. We’ve already seen them applying so much of this learning to the Sumbanese people’s eye care.
The eye operations are done annually as a collaboration between the Sumba Foundation, the Australian/Asian College of Surgeons, and the University of Hasanuddin in Makassar, Indonesia.