Let us lead the way. Embark on an eye-opening journey.

"To rest is for accomplishing a longer journey" has been Orbis volunteer ophthalmologist Dr. Timothy Lai’s motto during a career spent safeguarding vision. His selfless philosophy of using his rest time fighting blindness in the world’s poorest countries has extended the reach of Orbis’s sight-saving efforts.

Travelling the Road From Dreams to Destiny

Chasing Dreams From Dawn to Dusk

“I wanted to leverage my knowledge to augment the ophthalmic skills of medical professionals in needy areas, enabling them to save more patients,” said Dr. Lai regarding his primary motivation of becoming an Orbis’s volunteer ophthalmologist.

Since first joining Orbis 14 years ago, Dr. Lai has now saved sight everywhere from India and Bangladesh to China and Vietnam. When the pandemic made face-to-face training impossible, he remained steadfast in sharing new skills and techniques via online training workshops.

A volunteer doctor’s lot in life is far from easy. During his week in Vietnam, Dr. Lai not only screened patients at local hospitals, he also trained doctors aboard the Flying Eye Hospital. He even performed emergency treatments on those suffering with serious issues such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and retinal vascular occlusion. Instead of unwinding in his hotel room, his evenings were spent prepping the following day’s itinerary.

Dr. Timothy Lai

Orbis volunteer ophthalmologist

As sav­ing sight invari­ably involves a race against time, it’s always worth sac­ri­fic­ing a lit­tle relax­ation to save just one more patient.”

Transforming Countless Lives With Just One Pair of Hands

Dr. Lai’s most memorable case involved a 17-year-old girl whose sight has terribly worsened due to delays in seeking treatment caused by the pandemic. Her right retina was found completely detached during screening. Tragically, her left eye was affected by 900 degrees of high myopia with retina tears, causing vision loss and a high risk of retinal detachment. Dr. Lai immediately arranged laser surgery which successfully saved the girl’s remaining vision.

If not been diagnosed and treated in time, Dr. Lai estimated the girl’s left retina would have fully detached and blindness would have resulted within three to six months. “She is only 17 years old like my son. The long-term consequences of this would have been disastrous for her who had yet to finish her studies and would later struggle to find a job as a result,” said Dr. Lai.

As not everyone is granted healthy sight, Dr. Lai views every frontline rescue mission as an opportunity to change patients’ fates.

A Guardian for Every Genuine Smile

Our last Can Tho mission was in 2017. Coming back again this time, Dr. Lai caught up with 66-year-old Nguyet Anh whose macular degeneration and central retinal vein occlusion had been healed during that earlier trip 6 years ago. Upon rechecking her eyes, Dr. Lai found that her vision remained stable and free of problems. Having rediscovered her love of embroidery after her successful treatment, the old lady continues to fill her life with color.

Nguyet recalled being very nervous before her treatment as she was recovering from a recent stroke. “The crew aboard the Flying Eye Hospital was so friendly, my nerves simply melted away. I will never forget everyone’s kindness and encouragement,” said Nguyet.

Orbis is grateful to every volunteer and donor who helps it to save and restore sight. The delighted smile on a newly healed patient’s face is ultimately all the reward we need.

Nguyet Anh

Patient with macular degeneration

The crew aboard the Fly­ing Eye Hos­pi­tal was so friend­ly, my nerves sim­ply melt­ed away. I will nev­er for­get everyone’s kind­ness and encouragement.”

Be Part of the Sight-Saving Team

The more donors who help heroes like Dr. Lai to save and restore sight, the sooner he can help us achieve our dream of a world free from avoidable blindness. So please give a little something to our monthly donation program. Remember, even the smallest seed can eventually rise up into a towering tree.

Join the monthly donation program to extend the reach of Orbis's sight-saving efforts.

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