Bringing Vision Care Access to the People of Cambodia

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Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia sits the beautiful country of Cambodia—a nation renowned for its temples and stunning landscape. Many of its people are facing incredibly difficult challenges daily, with over 40% of Cambodians earning just $2.00USD each day and more than 10% of the population living below the poverty line. In addition to the socio-economic challenges that these people face, communities also must endure challenges presented by the country’s geography and climate. Because of the proximity to the sun and a lack of preventative care, over 180,000 Cambodians are blind—with 10,000 Cambodians suffering from avoidable blindness each year. To make matters worse, Cambodia has one of the lowest number of eye care specialists per capita in the world. At OneSight, we define lack of access as lack of awareness, affordability and physical access. And when a community lacks access, we do what we can to bring it to them—because we believe that everyone should have the ability to see clearly.

From May 20 – 24, OneSight hosted a clinic in the rural Ampov Prey Commune of Cambodia, providing free eye exams and glasses to nine local villages under the loving care of Cambodian General, His Excellency Seng Sinarin. With Seng Sinarin’s generous support and in partnership with Khmer Sight Foundation and Essilor Vision Foundation, we were able to serve nearly 1,300 patients in just five days. Our partners at Khmer Sight Foundation will also be conducting eye surgery missions in this area, helping patients suffering from cataracts and pterygiums.

“It has been an absolutely phenomenal opportunity to partner with OneSight. They have been a jewel to work with. We love being with OneSight and we hope this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship, which can help thousands of people in Cambodia see clearly. This partnership is great for the Cambodian people. Now, not only do they have access to glasses, but the people who need operations will also be able to come to Khmer Sight to get them. This type of clinic will allow us to help so many more people. We are very grateful to be here.”

– Debbie Walsh & Victor Norris, Khmer Sight Foundation

“EVF is always really happy to partner with international organizations like OneSight, as well as local ones like Khmer Sight Foundation, so that we can improve the lives of people who cannot see well. That’s why a group of us have flown from different parts of the world to come here so that in a week we can have the opportunity to give back to these people, while showing them how powerful it is to have good vision and how it can dramatically improve their lives.”

– Yvonne Siow – Head of Essilor Vision Foundation, ASEAN

Due to the unique challenges presented by the geographic location of our clinic, we took on a nimble kitting approach, which uses lighter, more portable equipment to reach remote areas faster and more efficiently. Normally, a clinic this size would require over a dozen pallets full of equipment to be transported to the site. With our innovative approach, we were able to pack an entire clinic into one pallet of supplies. It’s devices such as Kaleidos that make our nimble kits possible, giving us the power to screen patients in just a few seconds.

While this is OneSight’s third time holding a charitable clinic in Cambodia, we’re constantly looking for ways to extend our impact. Sustainable programming, when possible, is what we’ve found to be the most effective and empowering way to provide an entire community with access to affordable, quality vision care. That’s why when we set out to bring another charitable clinic to Cambodia this year, we also set out to explore opportunities for long-term programming.  

“We had the honour of partnering with some incredible people and organizations this week – H.E. Seng Sinarin and his team, Khmer Sight Foundation and Essilor Vision Foundation. When there are individuals and groups who are as committed as they are to closing the Vision Care Gap, we know we are on the right track to finding a long-term, sustainable solution. We are already discussing our plans for 2020 and beyond and are very excited about what this means for the Cambodian people who lack access.”

– Jenny Harnett, OneSight Program Manager

Together, let’s close the vision care gap for good.  Donate $30 to provide a free eye exam and pair of glasses to someone in need.