Written by Sahib Chandi ’20
The Global Health Fellows class of 2020 departed early in the morning this last Thursday to the Virginia Eye Consultants. Along with Mrs. Goodson and Ms. Nasimiyu, we each had the rare opportunity to witness two cataract surgeries. Once we arrived to the Norfolk office, we were given a tour of their facility, which featured an array of administration offices, examination rooms, as well as a multitude of the latest technology for eye exams. Some of these machines were even able to determine certain topographical information, a clearly formative turn in Optometry. We were also shown a room dedicated to LASIK operations for eye correction surgery.
At the end of the tour, we were taken upstairs to the surgical units, where we each watched two cataract surgeries. Since we divided into smaller viewing groups, some of us saw the implementation of different lenses, of which included toric and multifocal lenses. I had the opportunity to view the multifocal lens, which, by indication of our hostess, had distinguishable rings in its appearance. This recent advancement, unlike monofocals, improves all aspects of vision along with cataract removal. Therefore, many patients no longer need to wear glasses or contacts after surgery. Since only three of us were allowed in a viewing room at a time, the other three of us sat in the lobby and discussed the surgeries we saw. Some of the discussions began with expressions of astonishment at the miraculous nature of this surgery. I especially expressed awe at the complete removal of the clouded lens, a quick, yet delicate process.
Personally, I was most astonished by the ease and speed at which the surgeon performed the cataract surgeries. Each surgery, took about 15 minutes in total, for the removal and replacement of the clouded lens. After seeing this process, I can say that this surgery has an extreme potential to improve the quality of life of those who live with cataracts, but have inequitable access to healthcare. Along these lines, the 20s will meet and discuss a specific case study in India which tackles this problem. Through our discussion, we hope to apply what we learned from this experience to a service-oriented context.