Mongolian pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Shamsiya Murat

SAVING CHILDREN'S SIGHT: 7 QUESTIONS WITH DR. SHAMSIYA MURAT

Marla — the adorable girl with special pink glasses — has become quite the celebrity in the Orbis community. Dr. Shamsiya Murat, an Orbis-trained doctor from Mongolia, saved Marla's sight when she was just 42 days old.

We took a moment with Dr. Murat to reflect on her Orbis training, her dedication to prevent blindness in children... and, of course, her thoughts on little Marla.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A PEDIATRIC EYE DOCTOR?

My mother is a pediatric neurologist, and she encouraged me to go into medicine, so I did. My fourth class in medical school was ophthalmology. I was only 21 years old and I was fascinated! The first presentation in the class was about closed-angle glaucoma. I was just really interested from the very beginning.

Helping children like Marla see clearly inspires Dr. Murat to do her very best in the fight against preventable blindness

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR ORBIS TRAINING EXPERIENCES?

Sure. My first Orbis training was when I was a second-year resident in 2001. The Flying Eye Hospital landed in my city of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I participated in simulation training on artificial eyes. My second Orbis Flying Eye Hospital training was in 2014 when I was not yet fully specialized in pediatrics ophthalmology. I was just starting my cataract training — and the foundation came from Orbis and Dr. Daniel Neely. I learned so many things from Dr. Neely, like how to do my very first cataract surgery! So I'm really thankful for him.

Orbis Volunteer Faculty Dr. Daniel Neely shows Dr. Murat and another medical resident how to examine a pediatric cataract patient in 2014.

HOW DID YOUR FELLOWSHIP IN INDIA STRENGTHEN YOUR SKILLS TO TREAT PREVENTABLE BLINDNESS IN MONGOLIA?

First, I want to say thank you to Orbis and their supporters for the opportunity to study in India. I learned so many things from my fellowship at the world-famous hospital institute, LV Prasad.

I trained there for 15 months, learning about pediatric cataracts, strabismus, and general ophthalmology. Most importantly, I learned more diagnostic screening techniques for treating cataracts in children.

Dr  Shamsiya Murat Bugbee completed an Orbis-sponsored fellowship in India

Thanks to generous supporters, Dr. Murat completed an Orbis-sponsored fellowship in peadiatric ophthalmology in India

With the new skills and knowledge gained during her 15-month fellowship, Dr. Murat transformed the pediatric eye care services at her hospital in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia — making healthy sight a reality for generations

LET'S TALK ABOUT LITTLE MARLA. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HER VISION LOSS AND TREATMENT?

When Marla was 19 days old, her parents took her to the National Center for Maternal and Child Health (NCMCH), the hospital where I work. Both parents and maternal grandmother were born with congenital cataracts and suffer from vision loss. They wanted the best life possible for their little girl. Marla's mother had surgery when she was two years old, but that was too late. That's why the grandmother was insistent about bringing Marla to the hospital right away...to prevent another generation from living in blindness. I confirmed the diagnosis: congenital cataracts. We needed to act quickly to prevent permanent vision loss in this sweet baby.

If congenital cataracts aren't treated when an infant is between 6 and 8 weeks old, the child will suffer permanent vision loss. I performed the surgery on Marla when she was 42 days old. She became the youngest person in Mongolia to receive cataract surgery.

Your donation is so important.

Help ensure generations of children like Marla enjoy healthy sight and the brightest of futures.

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