Modeled on the already successful Lhasa Eye Clinic, the Amdo Eye Hospital will be specifically providing high quality cataract surgery. Dr. Sanduk Ruit – who founded the highly successful Tilganga Eye Center in Kathmandu, the Lhasa Eye Clinic and the Nepal Eye Program – will be training the Amdo Eye Hospital staff and is committed to overseeing operations for the next two years, ensuring the highest standards.
The Simplest Miracle
Intraocular surgery can be performed in minutes. First the eye is washed to reduce the risk of infection. A local anaesthetic is injected below the lower eyelid, blocking sensation in the eyeball. After the clouded interior of the lens is removed through a tiny incision on the side of the eyeball, the intraocular lens is inserted into the empty lens capsule. Dr. Ruit has said: “It is the best thing a human can do in five minutes.”
In August 2011 Ven.Pemba Sherpa (FPMT Board member, resident teacher and co-director of Cham Tse Ling, in Hong Kong) visited the Amdo Eye Hospital to report on its progress and operations.
Currently there are 24 people working in the hospital, this includes 4 doctors and 4 nurses who visit from the local Government hospital a few times a week to perform the actual surgeries. The hospital is three and half stories high and has 36 beds to accommodate patients.
The full price for cataract surgery is about US$750 (4800 CNY), however for patients who cannot afford it, the surgery is offered for free or whatever amount they can afford. At this stage it is hard to run the hospital totally free of charge, but the plan is to be able to offer more and more free or low cost surgeries, as the hospital expands.
The inauguration of the building was in July 2010, it took a year to equip the hospital and get the necessary documents to be able to perform the surgeries and in August 2011 the hospital was officially opened to the public. In the last 4 weeks the hospital has performed 8 surgeries and 4 of these were offered free. As the hospital becomes better known and receives more funding and equipment it will be able to perform many more surgeries. Currently the hospital is one of the largest hospitals in Xining dedicated solely to performing eye surgery.
The immediate need of the hospital is to purchase a laser surgery machine (Phacoemulsification machine). The cost for one of these machines is US$220,330 (1,280,000 CNY). FPMT is currently fundraising in order to be able to sponsor one, which will greatly help in the hospitals efficiency and will directly benefit those needing the surgeries.
The phacoemulsification machine breaks the cataract into tiny pieces and then suctions those pieces from the eye through a very small incision. Prior to the development of the phaco machine, the cataract was normally removed in one piece, requiring a larger incision, sutures, and more trauma to the eye. By having the phacoemulsification machine the whole procedure is much faster, less than 15 minutes per eye, it allows the patient to walk out of the surgical suite and resume normal activities within a few days.
Amdo Eye Hospital is proudly supported by Kunsang Yeshe Retreat Centre through our regular fundraising events. You can read more about the project on the FPMT website or make personal donations via the secure Amdo Project donation page.