By Tham Zhi Wen Winston, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)

Words are not enough to describe what the eyes see.

I had the opportunity to spend two days at the International Eye Cataract Retina Centre in Farrer Park Medical Centre and Farrer Park Hospital not as a patient, but as an observer for a short clinical attachment from 30 to 31 January 2018. In these short two days, I had a glimpse of the daily duties that the ophthalmologist and his staff had to perform. These include eye surgeries and diagnoses by the ophthalmologist and eye scans and investigations using machines operated by the optometrists.

The most memorable experience for me during my short two days was the complex surgery performed by Dr Au Eong Kah Guan. The patient had to undergo the surgery because his intraocular lens which had earlier been inserted into his eye in a different institution had dislocated, i.e., it had fallen into the back of the eye. As such, Dr Au Eong had to perform a vitrectomy to remove the vitreous humour before removing the dislocated intraocular lens and re-implanting a new intraocular lens for the patient. The procedure was estimated to be three hours long, but it only took Dr Au Eong slightly more than two hours to complete it. What amazed me was the communication between the nurses and Dr Au Eong in the operating theatre. They were efficient and professional and wasted no time in saying much as if able to read each other’s minds. As I looked through the microscope, I was awed by the precise and swift incisions in the eye made by Dr Au Eong who was so focused on the procedure. The two whole hours zipped by quickly and before I knew it, the operation was completed without a hiccup.

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

― Desiderius Erasmus

The short attachment has reminded me of this quote which refers to the idea that a disadvantaged person may be considered better off when surrounded by people who are less capable. However, it is particularly relevant to me as I now understand that even though I have myopia, I still have a better quality of life compared to those who have lost their sight. Hence, one vision is precious and should be treasured by taking care of one’s eye health.