U of A researcher backs retinal surgery program in India

(Edmonton) The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s Mark Greve recently returned from a 10-day trip to India where he oversaw a new retinal surgery program that, thanks to his donated time and expertise, is now helping those less fortunate.

Two years ago, Greve made his initial trip to the Sri Kiran Institute of Ophthalmology in Kakinada, a county home to 10 million residents in eastern India. Tens of thousands of cataract surgeries are performed on a charitable basis at the eye hospital each year.

During that initial trip, Greve met with two men who were determined to provide a much-needed health service to the people of the region by offering local retinal surgeries. The founder of the institute and an ophthalmologist working there saw a real need to offer retinal services to people in the area, who otherwise had to travel 10-12 hours to get this type of surgery. The ophthalmologist from India came to Edmonton for one year to train with Greve, the U of A’s ophthalmology team and other members of the faculty at the Royal Alexandra Hospital site.

Greve’s willingness to improve the lives of others through his teaching and research has inspired his trainee to pay it forward. The ophthalmologist from India will soon be training a peer from Cameroon, multiplying Greve’s charitable gesture.

Part of Greve’s role while in India this year was to ensure the retinal research and clinical programs were efficient and successful, so he provided additional training and support as needed. He also performed 20 complex retinal surgeries on people who had lost their sight or had impaired vision. Retinal disease can cause various problems such as a sudden loss of vision where everything goes black, cloudy vision or impaired central vision, which makes it difficult for people to read, drive or get around.

“It was rewarding to return to India and see the new retinal program up and running,” says Greve, an associate clinical professor in ophthalmology and a practising retinal surgeon.

“It was really important for me to provide support to a previous fellow, to make sure he is comfortable developing his retinal program and practice there. Success for him is success for us. And to see him carry on such important work, it’s a huge benefit for the region there.”

To view photos of Greve’s trip to India go to Flickr and YouTube.

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