14 August 2019, Dubai – United Arab Emirates: A doctor from one of UAE’s leading private eye care hospitals helped correct and improve the vision of dozens of patients with difficult access to healthcare in India during a recent visit to the country.
Dr Luisa Sastre, cataract surgeon and specialist ophthalmologist in medical retina at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, was invited to the Tarabai Desai Eye Hospital in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, to treat local patients suffering from cataracts.
Over the course of 10 days, Dr Luisa treated 43 men and women suffering from the debilitating eye condition that can impact a person’s sight to the point where their vision is almost completely clouded over.
“It’s the most rewarding feeling, being able to enhance people’s lives by improving their vision,” said Dr Luisa, who decided to visit India after seeing an appeal for doctors to help at the Tarabai Desai Eye Hospital.
After receiving the full backing of the management at Moorfields, which encourages medical staff from all departments to take part in projects and campaigns to help the wider community in the UAE and abroad, Dr Luisa travelled to Jodhpur in northern India.
“I contacted Dr Sanjiv Desai, one of the owners of the hospital, about the cataract surgery ‘camps’ and became a member of SEE International, an American NGO that has been helping Dr Sanjiv for 20 years,” said Dr Luisa. “I was accredited by the Medical Council of India and I travelled to Tarabai Desai Eye Hospital.”
Founded by Dr Navin Desai, Tarabai Desai Eye Hospital is run as a charitable trust and year after year, hosts opthalmologists from all over the world, that come to help when the hospital runs free cataract surgery campaigns (referred to as ‘camps’) for people living in the most deprived communities in Rajasthan. .-. Many of whom are affected by cataracts and other eye diseases.
Dr Luisa’s skills are much needed not only in Rajasthan but India in general. A recent ‘National Blindness Survey’ of 90,000 people, carried out in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Science, found that 62-65% of those surveyed were suffering from cataracts.
Cataracts are caused by the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which causes blurry vision and sensitivity to light and glare. They are most common in people over 40 years old.
Treatment involves surgery to remove the cloudy lens material from the effected eye, replacing it with an artificial plastic lens. A painless operation, the procedure takes 15-20 minutes and can be performed under local anesthesia.
Since it opened in Dubai, Moorfields’ skilled team of ophthalmologists has helped over 5,000 people suffering from cataracts in the UAE.
Dr Luisa, who had only started working at Moorfields a few months before traveling to India, thanked the hospital for supporting both her and Tarabai Desai Eye Hospital’s ongoing mission to treat patients.
“I truly appreciated being given the opportunity by Moorfields to visit India; to leave my comfort zone and help so many people,” said Dr Luisa, adding that she would not hesitate to return to Jodhpur and the Tarabai Desai Eye Hospital in the future.
Dr Luisa’s trip reflected the core values of Moorfields and advanced the hospital’s commitment to participate in a wide range of corporate social responsibility programmes.
The hospital provides world class outpatient diagnosis and treatment for the full range of both surgical and non-surgical related eye conditions, for adults and children, from basic screenings and eye health checks, to retinal surgery, laser refractive surgery, cataracts, corneal grafts, diabetic retinopathy treatment, squint correction surgery, oculoplastic surgery, genetic eye disease consultations and counseling, and ocular oncology services through permanent and visiting consultants.