Two decades of restoring sight in Cambodia
Dr. Barang Touk has devoted the past 20 years to bringing eye care to Cambodians in need. As the Deputy Director of the Mongkol Borei Provincial Hospital in Banteay Meanchey Province and Head of the Seva Canada-supported Banteay Meanchey Eye Unit, Dr. Barang manages all the Eye Unit activities on top of his busy clinical and surgical practice.
Dr. Barang first became aware of eye care watching his friend's family struggle for years to save enough money for their father to undergo cataract surgery. After completing his degree as a general practitioner, and seeing patient after patient in the same predicament, Dr. Barang decided to specialize in ophthalmology. Becoming an ophthalmologist was not easy, requiring him to study for an additional 3 years where he commuted weekly from Banteay Meanchey to Phnom Penh and also completed an observership in Boston, Massachusetts. Nevertheless, he remained committed to achieving his goal for himself and his country.
Now, after 10 years as a practicing ophthalmologist, Dr. Barang restores the sight of hundreds of patients each year, enabling them to contribute to their families, communities and country. One of his favorite stories is of a woman who seemed far older than her 35 years. She was a mother of two and worked as a saleswoman but she had become so visually impaired she could no longer do her job or look after her children and she feared her husband would divorce her. Desperate and hopeless, she travelled to the Banteay Meanchey Eye Unit to see if anything could be done. Dr. Barang diagnosed her with cataract, admitted her to the hospital and operated on her the next day. Two weeks later, when she returned for her follow-up appointment, Dr. Barang could hardly recognize the beautiful, joyful woman who sat in front of him.
Dr. Barang has countless stories like this, which keep him motivated to expand his skillset and inspire his team to ensure eye care is within everyone’s reach.