Sight has been restored to 257 people living in one of Cambodia’s poorest regions. 

An outreach eye clinic was recently held in Kampong Speu Province, in the country's south-west. A team of six medical staff worked intensively at Kampong Speu Eye Unit to screen the eyes of almost 600 people over five days. Of these, 173 people were diagnosed with cataract and 84 with other blindness causing conditions. All received sight-restoring surgery.

Outreach eye clinics are often the only way to reach people in remote communities who would otherwise remain blind.

Medical teams make the long journey to these areas and set up makeshift surgeries, usually in public buildings or community clinics. The support of generous Australians through The Foundation makes these high-volume surgical clinics possible.

Before The Foundation began partnering with the Kampong Speu Eye Unit four years ago, existing medical services were unable to provide surgery for people in the region.

As a result, locals would be referred to a distant hospital for their operation and often had to travel up to 100 kilometres to the cities of Takeo, Kampong Chhnang or Phnom Penh for surgery.

While much has been achieved to increase the availability of eye surgery in the province, there is still only one eye doctor and two nurses to serve the 715,000 residents of Kampong Speu.

This year alone, 778 cataract operations, 328 other sight restoring operations and 2,876 eye screenings have been conducted across the province. Construction of a new, expanded eye unit with its own designated operating theatre, consultation room and patient ward is expected to be completed in the next six months.

It thought that around 90 percent of blindness in Cambodia is avoidable. Through initiatives like the outreach clinics, The Foundation is helping restore sight and independence to people who would not otherwise get the chance.

The Fred Hollows Foundation receives funding through the Australian Government's Avoidable Blindness Initiative to reduce avoidable blindness in seven provinces of Cambodia and the municipality of Phnom Penh.

Learn more about our Cambodia program.