I was immediately drawn to the baby. Chubby-cheeked, swaddled in a cozy blanket and a flannel, this infant wore a snug knitted red hat and almost looked ready for a Canadian spring day. The baby fell asleep in my arms a few minutes after one of the "mothers," the older women who work at the orphanage we visited, put him in my arms. I couldn't help but recall the infant faces of my own son (now 10) and my daughter (now 8), and how different their lives in Nanaimo, BC, are from this child's.
I saw thousands of people flow through our "triage" station, the stage at which patients in a TWECS clinic are first assessed. Many, especially the children, had surprisingly good eyesight. But the dominant complaints were sore, itchy, watery, burning eyes and headaches - some of the untold "aftershocks" of the earthquake that devastated this region a year ago. The Kathmandu area is covered in rubble, and the dust, heat and rough conditions take their toll on people's vision. I saw an 18-year-old who lost vision in one eye from a piece of glass. Stories like this are too common here.
Dr. Allison Chang