JUL 2013

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

Issue link: https://digital.eyeworld.org/i/146899

Contents of this Issue


Page 13 of 66

August 2012 EW NEWS & OPINION 11 Chief medical editor's corner of the world Second Suns: A great summer read for ophthalmologists, families, friends, patients by David F. Chang, MD A t the recent ASCRS•ASOA Symposium & Congress, we announced a new ASCRS Foundation collaboration with Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) and the University of Utah's Moran Eye Center to further cataract surgical training in Ethiopia. In terms of healthcare in general, and eyecare specifically, sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most underserved regions in the world, with a dire shortage of ophthalmologists and cataract surgeons. Under the leadership of Geoff Tabin, MD, and Sanduk Ruit, MD, HCP has been one of the most active and effective ophthalmology NGOs in this region. As faculty members at the University of Utah's Moran Eye Center, Geoff, Alan Crandall, MD, and Randy Olson, MD, have created a cooperative academic model where their residents, fellows, and staff can work in East and West Africa, and collaborating African ophthalmologists can come to Utah for specialty training. In addition, Geoff was recruited by the United Nations Millennium Village Project to help with blindness surveys and interventions within their participating countries. This summer, two newsworthy developments are providing Himalayan Cataract Project with substantial mainstream publicity. At the 35th annual Telluride Mountain Film Festival, the documentary "Duk County" won two of the top three awards—the Vaughan Indomitable Spirit Award and the Moving Mountains Prize. The film tells the story of how Geoff and Alan's team from Moran collaborated with John Dau, one of the original Lost Boys of Sudan, to establish an eye clinic in South Sudan. Even more exciting is that Random House has just published Second Suns, the inspiring story of Sanduk and Geoff's careers and their unlikely partnership in combating cataract blindness in the developing world. This is the first book written by David Relin since he co-authored the longrunning New York Times Best Seller Three Cups of Tea. I was able to read an advance copy, and it is a wonderfully written narrative that not only ophthalmologists but our families, friends, and patients would enjoy. This month, I asked Geoff to tell us about these two projects. David F. Chang, MD, chief medical editor Second Suns, released by Random House, June 2013 Dr. Tabin with a cataract patient in Duk Pauyal, South Sudan 2011 Source: Geoff Tabin, MD Dr. Chang: Tell us about your work with John Dau and how this documentary came to be made. Dr. Chang: Were you able to be present when the documentary was shown at Telluride? Dr. Tabin: I live in Park City, Utah, where they hold the Sundance Film Festival every year. Five years ago the winning documentary was "God Grew Tired of Us," an amazing movie about the struggle of the Lost Boys of Sudan that features John Dau, a charismatic six-foot-eightinch man who led hundreds of boys across Sudan when he was just 13 years old. At the conclusion of the film John got up and gave a moving speech about how with the new peace treaty his next goal was to bring healthcare to his people, and specifically, eyecare. Alan Crandall's sister, Anne, was in the audience. She volunteered Alan and me. We met that week at a home in Park City and began planning how to develop eyecare in South Sudan and bring cataract and trachoma surgery to a clinic John was constructing in remote Duk County. We sent two young men to Nepal to train as ophthalmic technicians and began planning. We were delayed twice by recurrent violence and finally made it in 2012. In the meantime one of my friends, Jordan Campbell, who heads promotions for Marmot Mountain Equipment, expressed interest in coming along and filming the trip. Dr. Tabin: Yes. It was quite a thrill and a great reunion with John Dau and Jordan Campbell, Roger Furlong, MD, and Alan Crandall, MD, who went on both trips to Duk County, as well as Julie Crandall and several others who worked with us in South Sudan. Dr. Chang: How can our readers see the film and learn more about it? Dr. Tabin: Readers can see the film trailer and read more about the documentary on the National Geographic Adventure blog (Google search: "National Geographic Duk County Film"). They should consider phoning local small theaters to request that they screen the film. The Himalayan Cataract Project website, www.cureblindness.org, also has coverage of the documentary. Dr. Chang: How did the celebrated author David Relin choose to write his next book about you and Sanduk Ruit, MD? Dr. Tabin: I first met and spoke with David at a fundraising dinner for a school in the mountains of Nepal held in Snowbird, Utah. He was considering writing his next book about Apa Sherpa, the record-setting Sherpa Everest climber who was be- hind the school in Thame, Nepal. I suggested that he should meet Dr. Ruit, my partner in the Himalayan Cataract Project, and see the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology when he was in Nepal. I was hoping that he would write a magazine article. Dr. Ruit brought him to a remote cataract outreach where he witnessed blind people having their sight restored. He was converted and returned from Nepal intent on writing his next book on eyecare. Dr. Chang: Having met David, I know that he personally became as committed to the cause of cataract blindness as any ophthalmologist. He was truly unique in his willingness to travel with you and Dr. Ruit to remote eye camps in Asia and Africa to learn about your work and its effect on the patients, wasn't he? Dr. Tabin: Yes. He came to remote areas of Rwanda and Ethiopia and made several trips to Nepal and Bhutan. He was a true humanist and cared about our patients as if they were his own family. In the course of his research for the book he personally paid the fees and costs for a dozen people to attend school or return to their vocation after they or a parent underwent cataract surgery. Dr. Chang: Were you pleased with David's ability to convey the story of Himalayan Cataract Project? continued on page 12

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Eyeworld - JUL 2013