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Overcoming eye health care challenges in Indonesia

Lions Eye Institute Managing Director, Professor Bill Morgan, made the trip to Jakarta, Indonesia in August to give a lecture to a group of 150 registrars and consultants in how to monitor progression in glaucoma.

The group watched in person and online as Professor Morgan talked about glaucoma and took questions. Professor Morgan has travelled to Indonesia on many occasions to teach ophthalmologists and run clinics. He also co-invented the sight saving Virna drainage device with Indonesian ophthalmologist Dr Virna Oktariana. The device assists in draining the eye of unnecessary fluid and relieving intraocular pressure, giving people in countries like Indonesia access to affordable glaucoma eye care.

Professor Morgan’s most recent trip saw him visit the not for profit organisation The John Fawcett Foundation of which he is a board member, meet with leading Indonesian cataract surgeons and glaucoma specialists, conduct clinics with local residents, test out a new smart phone retinal camera adaptor, plus meet with specialists from various healthcare organisations. Professor Morgan also met with Dr Sjakon Tahija and his wife Shelly. Dr Tahija, a long-time supporter of the Lions Eye Institute, completed his vitreo-retinal fellowship with Professor Ian Constable AO in the early 1990s and professed “no one has made such an impact on my life as Professor Constable”.

The COVID-19 pandemic stopped travel altogether and during this time Professor Morgan turned to Zoom for education sessions with Indonesian counterparts. Professor Morgan has had a long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship with Indonesian universities and health care providers for over 20 years and has previously accompanied Professor Constable to Surabaya to teach and demonstrate surgeries.

Did you know?

  • Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and cause irreversible vision loss, often without any obvious symptoms. Loss of sight tends to creep up on a person, leading to glaucoma being referred to as the ‘sneak thief of sight’. Central vision usually remains strong while side or peripheral vision is eroded. Ultimately, sight can be completely and permanently lost.
  • Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in Indonesia, affecting approximately six million people. It is estimated that around 300,000 Indonesians have lost their sight to the disease. Read about our research into glaucoma.
  • Professor Morgan has been travelling to Indonesia since the early 90’s and assisting with surgery, optical exams and co-inventing ophthalmic devices with other professionals in the field, making a huge difference to the lives of Indonesians.

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