Visit by Buddhist high monk celebrates partnership between Casey Eye Institute and Myanmar eye hospital
OHSU kicked off its global health collaboration in Myanmar with a special visit in July by the Buddhist High Monk of Myanmar. The event, which took place at Casey Eye Institute, featured a symbolic signing of a memorandum of understanding –or MOU –to honor the growing relationship between OHSU and the Tipitaka Eye Hospital in Myanmar. The signing ceremony was preceded by remarks from OHSU and Casey leaders, the Buddhist High Monk and other special guests from the Myanmar and Portland Buddhist communities.
A Sayadaw, or high monk, is a prestigious designation for those who have passed the highest possible exam for monks.
Under the stewardship of Myanmar's Sayadaw, the monk-led hospital has built a highly respected program that provides free eye care to tens of thousands of children and adults throughout Myanmar. Its services are helping alleviate the country's high rate of avoidable blindness caused by decades of political and economic isolation and poverty.
"Although there are talented eye care providers in Myanmar, there are too few ophthalmologists and subspecialty eye care is severely lacking," said Mitchell Brinks, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of ophthalmology, OHSU School of Medicine and director of Casey's International Ophthalmology Program.
Casey faculty and staff are partnering with Tipitaka Eye Hospital to build programs that will have long-term benefits for both the people of Myanmar and Oregon. Priorities include training mid-level health care personnel, instituting a pediatric vision screening program and developing a health record database.
"OHSU and Casey will benefit equally, if not more than Tipitaka in this collaboration," noted Casey director David Wilson, M.D., in his remarks at the ceremony. "The larger population in Myanmar, which has more severe, yet treatable eye disease, will teach all of us about which type of systems are effective," said Wilson, who is professor and Thiele-Petti Chair, Department of Ophthalmology, at the OHSU School of Medicine. "We look forward to applying that knowledge to our own vision care in Oregon."
The monk's visit dovetailed with Casey's biennial International and Community Ophthalmology conference, which was attended by more than 100 public health experts from the U.S. and other countries.
The Macular Degeneration Center at Casey Eye Institute, OHSU, publishes InSight, a newsletter about new developments in treating and living with this condition. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States.Download the latest Macular Degeneration Center newsletter
How OHSU physicians teamed up to diagnose and treat a teen with a brain tumor
In the fall of 2013, 15-year-old Tigard High School sophomore Brandt Goetz suffered an apparent concussion during a youth tackle football game. A few weeks later, when he began suffering from headaches and blurred vision, his parents were convinced that something else was going on. Brandt's mother, Michelle Goetz, took him to see an eye doctor who then referred them to OHSU's Casey Eye Institute.
A week later, on a Friday, Brandt's father, Jason Goetz, took his son to Oregon Health & Science University's Department of Sports Medicine where he was evaluated for a standard concussion. That same day, the teen was examined by neuro-ophthalmologist Julie Falardeau, M.D., who evaluates the visual signs and symptoms of complex neurological problems. After thoroughly reviewing Brandt's medical history, she noticed swelling in the optic nerves of both of his eyes. She moved quickly to get Brandt in for an MRI that night. By 8 a.m. the next morning, she had discovered what was causing the blurry vision – a large brain tumor on Brandt's left temporal lobe.Read more
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"Vision loss from diabetic retinopathy carries very severe physical, psychological, social and economic consequences on individuals and their communities worldwide," says retina specialist Andreas Lauer, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at Casey Eye Institute. Although there have been inroads in research and treatment, the prevalence and impact of diabetic retinopathy is expected to grow as nations become more industrialized and life expectancy increases. "Diabetic retinopathy is poised to be an overwhelming global public health problem," he says.
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