Rare recovery for acid attack victim in Cambodia

In an effort to restore her vision, the 53-year-old victim of an acid attack in Cambodia is likely to receive the first cornea transplant in April.

There are only a small number of surgeons who have the ability to perform a transplant, there is a lack of organ donor banks, the majority of individuals earn a salary that is much higher than the expense of obtaining a healthy cornea, and cornea transplants are infrequent in Cambodia.

Indeed, the surgical operation was led by Kevin Winkle, an ophthalmologist from Alaska-based International Expeditions Eye Surgical (SEE), a non-profit group that organizes medical missions for surgical teams with limited expertise in countries where training and operations are carried out. It was made possible for her to have a cornea transplant brought from the United States.

Victims of acid attacks are usually unlikely candidates for a cornea transplant because the surrounding eye tissue, which describes Winkle as the clear window where the white part of the eye meets, is severely destroyed, making it infeasible to bind the required limbal stem cells to the cornea donor.

Winkle says, “I saw that most of the folks had assumed that I had last and could not heal a graft in that area, which had caused so much scarring and damage.”

However, there weren’t enough stems initially, so we saw that the operation in which the Cambodian ophthalmologist, Soryoun Soeung, assisted emerged signs of worry once the procedure began. But Tes was selected for surgery because she appeared to have sufficient stem cells to successfully undergo the transplant.

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However, around two months after her surgery, her left eye has mostly “accepted” the new cornea and she has regained some vision.

(Www.Cambodianacidsurvivorscharity.Org) Cambodian-based charity, Acid Survivors Charity, has been providing medical care and shelter for victims of acid attacks for the majority of the past ten years. This nonprofit organization records an average of 12 to 24 attacks annually. However, it is important to note that these statistics may not accurately represent the true number of acid attacks in Cambodia, as many cases go unreported due to their unreliable nature.

Acid regulation and the implementation of new laws to lengthen prison sentences for perpetrators have significantly reduced the number of acid attacks in Cambodia. The survivors’ charity has reported only one case so far this year. Acid is widely available in Cambodia and is used for powering car batteries and clearing agricultural drains.

After recovering from her cornea transplant, medical professionals anticipate that she will proceed with a third surgery to address the tightening of her neck muscles. In the past, she has already undergone procedures to eliminate the tightening of her arm, neck, and eyelids. It was only in 2011 that she began utilizing the support services provided by the survivors’ charity. The cornea transplant marks the third surgical intervention that Tes has undergone within a span of three years. The enduring impact of acid attacks is evident in the numerous Cambodians who continue to endure disabilities and necessitate ongoing medical care.

Tes says that there have been many surgeries in recent years on the operating table. I feel much better now – I am able to wash and clean at home and go to work, but there have been incessant turns of surgeries.

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