ORBIS, a charity flying eye hospital, has ushered in a new hope among more than 100 ophthalmologists in the country as it is equipping them with the latest technological and surgical developments in the field of eyecare, reports BSS.
The hospital, boarded on a DC-10 aircraft, landed in the port city of Chittagong on November 17 to transfer technologies.
The hospital has treated a number of poor eye patients, including children, during its two-week stay in Bangladesh, a country where one per cent of its total population suffer from blindness.
The 450-tonne aircraft, now at the Chittagong airport, provides training to doctors for complex surgery, introducing them to sophisticated equipment, developing technicians and nurses to make them efficient teams to ensure better eyecare services in Bangladesh, home to 140 million people.
"I'm really amazed to see treatment development in ophthalmology. I have learned a lot from ORBIS's hand-on-hand training just for a few days", Mohammad Shahabuddin, a physician who hailed from Khulna, told the news agency on board.
Shahabuddin said over 40,000 children become blind each year due to lack of awareness and ignorance about eyecare among guardians in the country, and at least one-third of them could be rehabilitated through proper and timely treatment.
The ORBIS journey would certainly have direct impact over creating mass awareness on eyecare, he opined.
Country Director of the ORBIS Bangladesh, Mohammad Khairul Islam, said the noble mission of the ORBIS started in 1982 worldwide and the aircraft made its first visit to Bangladesh in 1985.
So far it has visited Bangladesh eight times -- twice in Chittagong -- in 20 years, giving a reminder to policy makers and others concerned to do more to protect human sight.
Chittagong branch president of Ophthalmological Society of Bangladesh (OSB) SM Tariq was present on the occasion.
Browshell, a United States (US) citizen, said the ORBIS would serve as a catalyst for local eyecare professionals to learn and expand their expertise to other peers for widening treatment opportunities of visually-impaired people in Bangladesh.
According to statistics, about 1.4 million people are blind in Bangladesh due to different causes. The proportion of corneal blindness is high among the blind who alone account for 500,000.
The ratio between eye specialists and patients is more frustrating.
However, eyesight of most of the blind can be restored if people are motivated to donate corneas after their death.
Volunteers get only 500 to 600 corneas per annum, and most of them come from the eyes of unclaimed bodies and eye donors.
He also said around 1.0 million (10 lakh) people die each year in Bangladesh, and the corneal demand could easily be met if a small part of them of their family members donated eyes after death.