Rose Cambodia’s Eye Surgery Success Story

In early 2003, the Rose Cambodia Eye Clinic was looted and destroyed, all the equipment was stolen and even wires were ripped from the walls. At the time, the clinic offered free eye surgery and word of the great service that the clinic offered, had gone around all over the country. Few knew, however, about its destruction, so the patients kept coming and looking for help with their eye problems. With no equipment, the situation seemed hopeless, but Dr. Vra was determined not to give up. Borrowing some very basic equipment, he restarted cataract surgeries again and slowly rebuilt the clinic.

Today, the Rose Eye Center has expertise, equipment and facilities to provide any eye procedure at a quality that rivals anything else in the world. It resides some 20 km from the center of Phnom Penh as a purpose-built hospital designed by Dr Hang Vra himself. From its start in 1998, it has had the support of  Rose Charities. Donors from Canada have funded thousands of surgeries for the poor. Rose Charities New Zealand has provided extensive training, equipment and ongoing support. Rose NZ has even operated a tele-medicine link between a major NZ surgical center and the clinic to advise on difficult cases. The main driving force however, has always been Dr. Hang Vra and his eye surgeon wife, Dr. Natalia.

The Rose Eye Center is passionate about maintaining its charitable role. Dr. Vra, who was forced to work as a teenager for the Khmer Rouge during the Cambodian Holocaust, has never lost sight of the poverty and need imprinted on his brain, in those terrible times. Money from donations and from paying patients goes to support free or very low cost procedures for the poor. Thousands obtain treatment every year which they would otherwise simply not receive.

“This is an inspiring story about one man’s dedication and the simple role we can play to help build something of lasting impact. ”   

-Josephine de Freitas, Director, Rose Charities Canada
Dr Vra examines an eye on the slit lamp. Rose NZ’s Dr Nabil behind and Mr Boeun (refractionist) assists. Rose Eye Center, Cambodia.