Medicine - Opthalmology
It is my hope that this elective will allow me to learn more from clinical and research experiences of my colleagues in a developing country and foster relationships that are geared to improving eye health globally and fundamental to success in my future global health research endeavors. Specifically, I will be helping coordinate a multi-center clinical trial with colleages at Aravind, Wilmer and UCSF, evaluating the role of cataract extraction in patients with glaucoma during my elective.
Additionally, during this elective I will participate in ophthalmic surgeries to improve my surgical skillset and learn new surgical techniques applicable in low resource settings (specifically relating to mature and hypermature cataracts and advanced glaucoma), experience a different method of healthcare delivery and gain exposure to clinical cases that are not prevalent in the US.
Collaborating Institutions: Aravind, Wilmer, University of California San Francisco
Indian ophthalmologists practice within a special set of demands placed upon them by a convergence of a vast population to treat, a high prevalence of eye disease, and limited resources. Aravind Eye Care system has been at the forefront of battling eye disease in South India. Since 1976, it has expanded to become one of the most productive eye hospitals in the world with each center seeing over a thousand patients and performing several hundred surgeries per day. Nearly half of these surgeries are performed free of cost.
While at Aravind, I had the opportunity to learn a low cost cataract surgery technique known as manual small incision cataract surgery (SICS) which is the most common methods used in developing countries and remains an invaluable skill in management of mature and hypermature cataracts in developed countries. Additionally, I was exposed to and learnt about eye pathology not prevalent in the US.
Because of the efficiency and scale of the Aravind Eye Care system, it has been a major site for clinical trials in ophthalmology over the past decade, including a multicenter study on angle closure glaucoma (a blinding eye disease in Asian countries) performed in conjunction with Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. We have published and presented these data at various international forums. I had the opportunity to continue to work with my Indian colleagues on this project during my rotation.
Most importantly, I learnt about the South Indian way of life and made many wonderful new friends during my rotation.
Left: Retina Clinic. Right: Meeting the Founders