LDS Charities works to improve the quality of eye care treatment around the world, often in training seminars for handling new medical tools or performing the latest in surgical techniques. In September of 2012, LDS Charities helped coordinate the seminar “Contemporary Treatment of Glaucoma” at a hospital in Chisinau, Moldova.
Ophthalmologists from the hospital and surrounding communities participated in a week-long training and lecture in the use of Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (SD-OCT), a 3D imaging technology used for the eye that is similar to an ultrasound or MRI. This tool helps doctors better observe when an individual is developing a retinal disease or has glaucoma.
During the training, ophthalmologists learned and practiced diagnostic testing with the SD-OCT on approximately 70 patients who either had a retinal disease or glaucoma. The ophthalmologists grew comfortable enough with the SD-OCT that trainers were confident the technology would be used well for many years to come.
Surgery procedures were also performed on five patients with a variety of vision problems, but primarily focusing on glaucoma. Through these operations, the ophthalmologists viewed and exercised new techniques in trabeculectomy (glaucoma) surgery.
At the close of the project, each doctor who participated received a “Certificate of Recognition” for efforts to improve eye care within the community. In the closing ceremony, LDS Charities project coordinating service missionary, Dr. John Lewis, lectured on the use of SD-OCT and how patient eye care will be improved through its use. He emphasized that the SD-OCT “will be a very effective diagnostic tool for the ophthalmology clinic in the management of retinal disease and glaucoma.”
The hospital administrator expressed appreciation for the services LDS Charities provided to the hospital and its ophthalmology department. Many doctors received valuable training that will greatly improve the quality of eye care treatment for their community.
The number of people, doctors, and patients who will eventually benefit from the training is difficult to measure, but the service missionaries involved in the project said the seminar had “been the most valuable training that [they] have been involved with.” As doctors around the world continue to be trained in advanced eye care techniques and equipment, countless lives will be blessed with improved living through better vision.