Texas Retina Associates’ Rajiv Anand, MD, recently returned from a one-week medical mission trip to the National Medical Institute of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar, where he operated on and assisted with 19 retina surgeries over the course of five days. Dr. Anand cared for patients with a range of retina conditions, including diabetic traction detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, macular holes, macular pucker, traumatic cataract lensectomy, and total retinal detachments with proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR).

The Laurel Foundation sponsored the mission trip. Since 1989, the Foundation has worked to support the betterment of people’s mental health. Its primary focus is on autism spectrum disorder and mental wellness, along with the support of medical missions in Mongolia such as this one.

The National Medical Institute ophthalmology department is new and faces a number of hurdles in providing training and teaching to its resident doctors. There is a need and great demand for specialist care since there is very little medical care available outside the capital. While some equipment has been donated by the Laurel Foundation, there is a lack of diagnostic instruments, proper training and teaching as well as high supply costs and limited access to care. In addition, the community experiences a high rate of alcohol abuse, resulting in trauma cases. Furthermore, increasing prevalence of poorly treated diabetes results in complications, including eye hemorrhages and retinal detachments. The severity of these conditions is quite advanced and makes the surgical care more difficult.

While in Ulaanbaatar, Dr. Anand also provided the ophthalmology department faculty, staff and residents with medical education, giving five lectures that covered a range of retina topics, including macular hole, macular pucker, diabetic retinopathy (medical and surgical), retinal detachment, and current treatment for diabetic macular edema (DME) using anti-VEGF injections and a summary of the Diabetic Clinical Research Network (DRCR) studies.

Dr. Anand enjoyed working with the National Medical Institute ophthalmology team in Mongolia, and they expressed sincere gratitude for his mission.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Anand.