Dr. Mark Ellis Reports on Sumba Eye Program

This was the third annual trip to West Sumba to conduct an eye camp at Waikabubak hospital in co-operation with the Sumba Foundation.

This was the third annual trip to West Sumba to conduct an eye camp at Waikabubak hospital in co-operation with the Sumba Foundation. There were many factors which prevented the greater number of surgical procedures performed, people screened and prescribed spectacle corrections.

Rainy season had come early with heavy rains most days. This prevented the villagers coming in greater numbers. The Sumba Foundation staff, in particular Rudi and Reni brought as many as they could in for assessment. It also was Ramadan and a public holiday towards the end of the week. There was a great absence of the hospital staff most days in theatre apart from the head anaesethetic nurse Jon, who was a great help and assistance to us.

During the week long mission, the following activities were undertaken.

Surgery – 75 cases

Cataract Extractions – 64 (two pediatric) cases

Pterygium Removals and auto conjunctival grafts – 4 cases

Entropion repairs – 1 case

Corneal Foreign Body removal – 2 cases

Chalazions – 2 cases (one child under valium sedation)

Conjunctival mass removal – 1 case

Carbuncle abscess – 1 case

We performed cataract surgery on a bilaterally blind 6 year old boy. He could only just see objects a couple of cm in front of his face. There was much bewilderment and fear the following day when he started looking round at a sea of faces!

Our Rotary volunteer John Hudson was surprised when a man he helped sit down (who was tripping over everything), walked straight out the door after his cataract surgery.

Screening clinic

The optometrists saw 581 people, 76 referred for assessment, dispensed 444 spectacles and about 76 sunglasses to the patients.

The Peters fitted a family of 3 boys, who were very short sighted. Their mother suspected something was not right. They had travelled far to get to our camp and were delighted to be able to see.

Optometry Giving Sight funded another optometrist to come to aid the teaching of the local staff. We were lucky to have Norm Russo, who is a paediatric optometrist to assess, many children.

Peter Lewis and Peter Stewart have identified two potential eye care nurses. The role of an eye care nurse is to have basic skills in eye care including refractions and diagnosis of eye diseases. They would be able to provide followup for our patients as well as screening for eye disease.

Funding is now being sorted for their education.

Team Members

Surgeons – Dr David Workman and Mark F Ellis

Optometrists – Mr Peter Lewis, Mr Peter Stewart and Mr Norm Russo

Nurses – Sr Julie Tyers and Alison Plain

Volunteers – Mr John Hudson (Rotary), Mrs. Janet Ellis and Anne Lewis

Dr Mark F Ellis

Team Leader – Sumba Eye Program

September 2010