Vietnamese woman thanks Taiwanese public for surgery


TAIPEI, Taiwan — A Vietnamese woman expressed her gratitude to the Taiwanese public on Oct. 4 for donations that allowed volunteer doctors to perform an operation in August to help correct an eye disorder called strabismus.

Victims of strabismus have difficulty aligning their eyes with each other.

Born with the condition, Le Bao Ngoc, or “Ruby,” said she grew up being bullied, and that her dream was to have the eyes of a normal person.

A 20-year-old university student majoring in tourism, Le told a press conference in Taipei 101 how strabismus had taken away her confidence.

“In Vietnam, people with strabismus and short stature are looked down on. They said I have a double weaknesses, so I am the worst kind,” she said.

After the operation in August, Le said she leads a normal life and proudly shows her new glasses to people who teased her before. She said anonymous Taiwanese donors had changed her life.

Le’s surgery was part of a fundraising project held by ORBIS Taiwan and Standard Charted Bank in 2009. In less than 10 days, a total of NT$1.3 million (US$31,250) was raised nationwide for 1,200 children in less developed countries with eye problems.

Traveling as far as Tibet to perform volunteer operations on eye patients, said Tsai Jui-fang, superintendent of the Taipei Eye Center, that Taiwan has the capability to save more people like Le who have diseases that are easily treatable and preventable.

Tsai said that there are currently five Taiwanese opthamologists certified by ORBIS who visit developing countries and offer free services to help young people suffering from cataracts, strabismus and blindness.

The programs give the doctors a chance to demonstrate Taiwan’s successful medical expertise and train doctors in developing countries, Tsai said, adding that people should never forget to lend a helping hand to those in need.