Mummy are my eyes beautiful
ACS Egham attendee Charline Muller, is our fourth student to document their trip to Vietnam. The conscientious 17 year old would like to be a doctor and over the course of this adventure, has learnt about the great impact eye care can have on patients. Alongside clear vision, comes optimisim and opportunities. Discover more below...
During our stay in Hue, Vietnam, we were given the opportunity to meet numerous individuals who have been given the chance to dream big thanks to treatment for visual impairment. This incredible experience has reminded me that my ability to see clearly is priceless. No child with low vision across the world should miss the beauty around them, simply due to a price being placed on an operation that can fix their sight.
I knew before coming to Hue that Orbis has a huge impact on people’s lives, but never would I have understood the importance of Orbis’s role in Vietnam if I was not given the opportunity to meet face-to-face with patients.
Numbers of treatments or eye tests cannot fully represent the effect that is brought about by Orbis, they are only the tip of the iceberg. Each individual that was provided with quality eye care symbolises a future full of opportunities they may have missed if they had not received treatment.
One child that we had the privilege to meet was a 14-year-old boy called Phuc. Phuc suffered from ptosis, a disease that resulted in the drooping of the upper eyelid and caused his vision to be blurry. Phuc and his mother are a team of two who live with his grandparents, aunt and cousin. His mother sells conical hats in borough market for a living, with ten hats making $1. Between them they make four hats a day, each hat taking an hour to craft. Sadly, she was unable to pay for his surgery, but he was able to receive support for his treatment.
The physical difference that Phuc suffered due to ptosis, resulted in a lack confidence and self-esteem. The surgery has not only treated his ptosis, but also boosted how he feels about himself and how others respond to him.
His mum told us: “I just want him to have the best education, much more than I ever did. When I was young I didn’t attend school and I cannot read or write so I want the best for him.”
“Mummy, are my eyes beautiful yet?" was the first thing that Phuc said to his mother after the doctor had removed his bandages.
This boy’s story highlights the importance of Orbis’s work in Vietnam. They not only provide eye care and represent a strong pillar of support that delivers funding to Hue Eye Hospital, but they also transform children like Phuc’s life, enabling them to feel confident and good in their own skin.
As a student that has the aspiration to become a doctor and to care for others, I believe that this experience has been an important stepping stone for my future in medicine. During those five days that we had with patients and medical staff, I was able to observe the importance of providing eye care for all in developing countries and witness the transformational change that eye surgery can provide to people.
Overall this experience with Orbis has been an eye opener on the importance of universal access to quality eye care. Providing support, training and aid to hospitals and doctors in communities that are unable to afford the care, is vital to eradicating avoidable blindness.