Ma Nu Nu needed a high-stakes surgery to save her vision

Ma Nu Nu needed a delicate, difficult surgery to repair her sight. Because the surgery was complex and risked leaving her blind, not many surgeons in her home country of Myanmar could help Ma Nu Nu. Until she met Dr. Chang.

Ma Nu Nu From Mandalay

A young woman named Ma Nu Nu from Mandalay, Myanmar, had been blind in one eye for nine years due to blunt trauma. Even worse, she was also suffering from glaucoma and cataracts. Already partially blind, Ma Nu Nu was becoming more and more anxious about the conditions that threatened to rob her of her vision altogether.

But she was facing a seemingly insurmountable roadblock: because the surgery she needed was so intricate, local doctors couldn’t help her.

Ma Nu Nu is being screened for eye diseases.

Hope was running out for Ma Nu Nu

Thanks to Orbis supporters like you, Ma Nu Nu didn’t have to wait too much longer to get the help she needed. The Flying Eye Hospital arrived in Myanmar in 2019, and sight-saving care was finally within her reach!

A High-stakes Surgery

A first-time Volunteer Faculty member on the Flying Eye Hospital, Dr. Robert Chang, specialized in both glaucoma and cataracts. He treated her conditions and performed the surgery she thought she may never receive.

Ma Nu Nu was selected as one of Dr. Chang’s first surgical teaching cases with Orbis. As predicted, her case was complex. Dr. Chang had to lower the pressure in her left eye, while simultaneously removing a mature cataract from the same eye.

Dr. Robert Chang screening patients in Myanmar.

“She's a very young glaucoma patient, and it's always difficult when you have the disease happen at a young age, especially when it’s more advanced,” said Dr. Chang. “She had prior surgery for her glaucoma that hadn’t worked out. And she developed a cataract, which actually decreased her vision even more.”

As Dr. Chang says, many surgeons—​​even experienced surgeons—shy away from procedures involving the same eye. This is especially true when the patient is already blind in the other eye, due to the risk of the patient losing what’s left of their vision.

“This was a very difficult case. It’s sort of a high stakes situation, because if anything goes wrong in the surgical process, you know that this is her only good eye left.” —​​Dr. Chang

Despite the complex nature of the case, Dr. Chang was able to save Ma Nu Nu’s remaining sight—and Ma Nu Nu isn’t the only one who benefited from it.

Passing the Baton

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to stress the importance of regular eye screenings to detect the eye condition as early as possible.

Our expert volunteers like Dr. Chang work hard to provide invaluable training to eye health teams around the world—both in-person and online through our telemedicine platform, Cybersight—so they can better detect and treat glaucoma in their communities.

Ma Nu Nu's surgery was a success

Dr. Robert Chang

Orbis Volunteer Faculty

I just love it so much, it nev­er gets old. When I can have a mean­ing­ful impact on an individual’s life, I often think about how I can move that to a greater scale. Because you know, your own two hands can only treat so many peo­ple. That’s why I real­ly enjoy train­ing oth­ers. Orbis is amazing!

As National Glaucoma Awareness Month draws to a close, we'd like to say a special ‘thank you’ to all of our volunteers, partners and supporters. Your ongoing support is improving and transforming the lives people like Ma Nu Nu around the world. We’re so grateful!

Donate Today

Help people like Ma Nu Nu get the eye care they deserve.

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