USC Roski Eye Institute’s J. Bradley Randleman, MD, traveled to Myanmar for a week-long, skills-transfer series hosted by the Hawaiian Eye Foundation. The five-day Myanmar Eye Meeting (MEM) was held at the Yangon Eye Hospital, conducted by the Hawaiian Eye Foundation, and sponsored by Zeiss International and American Vision Myanmar. MEM was attended by over 100 Burmese ophthalmology students and practicing ophthalmologists.
This year’s MEM marked the country’s third MEM eye surgical training program since the country’s opening to democracy. A wide range of didactic topics were included: glaucoma, cataracts, plastics, neuro-ophthalmology, refractive, pediatric, corneal and retinal disorders were covered in lectures, patient consultations, and live surgery demonstrations.
J. Bradley Randleman, MD, led the Refractive Surgery program, and was one of many physicians who provided patient consultations for challenging surgical cases identified by the Yangon Eye Hospital attendings. All appropriate candidates had surgery with observation by the local attendings, and post-operative follow-up. Randleman performed surgery on patients that were “extremely high myopes (nearsighted) with prescriptions above -10D in both eyes (up to approximately -16D).” These patients were ultimately best suited for refractive lens exchange due to not only early cataracts, but also poor suitability for excimer laser ablation. The following day, Randleman performed a refractive lens exchange via phacoemulsification. He reflects, “The patients were doing well, and were extremely happy by appearance at their post-operative visit the following day.”
In addition to performing a refractive lens exchange, Dr. Randleman provided a four-hour long lecture series for Refractive Surgery. In this lecture, Randleman covered topics such as Refractive Surgical Screening, Corneal Topography Analysis, Refractive Cataract Surgery, Basic Refractive Surgical Techniques, Refractive Surgery Complications, and decision making and procedure planning for Refractive Surgery.
Myanmar has 350 ophthalmologists for all 55 million people. This represents a ratio of one ophthalmologist for 160,000 people, which is one-quarter of the World Health Organization’s target. Thus, the urgent need for ophthalmic training is pressing. Because of the event’s success, the Hawaiian Eye Foundation was invited to return for MEM IV in 2019, and also asked to expand to the Mandalay region of Myanmar for a similar training program. The Foundation’s efforts in Myanmar are amplified by its scholarship programs for SE Asian ophthalmologists and ongoing Vietnamese symposiums.