Update at bottom
Many old hands and even Cambodians do not think they have a good health system here.
They are wrong!
In 2016 I realised I had diminishing vision. My Phnom Penh Optician lady said. Cant fix your sight any more with glasses. Its time!!!! (ie you need surgery).
When I asked for a reference to get it done locally, she was not enthusiastic and suggested I go to Bangkok!!!
I was back in New Zealand a few weeks later for a visit and thought I would get an appointment at my local Eye Centre(5 * Ophthalmologists). Somewhat surprised I was informed the earliest appointment for a checkup was 6(SIX) weeks away!!!!!!! Hmmph so much for 1st world medicine(did I mention the cost was going to be upwards of $70.)
Returning to the Kingdom of Wonder(ful) I did some research. A popular referral was to specialist eye doctor Dr Do Seiha
He runs a Clinic before and after his work at one of the Private Hospitals.
The 2 occasions I went his waiting room was full.
No appointments. Just arrive and wait your turn. Waiting room is basic and had both Cambodians and Europeans waiting.
Nothing fancy with the consultation ($14) Get a quick eye check from the Nurse (can you read the bottom line) then in to the good Doctor sitting behind his equipment.
No fancy bedside manner here. “Whats the problem?”
I explain about maybe having cataracts. He looks in my eyes and says “yes you have cataracts. When your vision gets really bad come and see me.”
ie consultation over 🙂
In answer to my questions
1. How much will it cost “$500-$100 per eye depends on the lens”
2. How long will it take “15 minutes”
Total consultation time under 10 mutes.
A few weeks later was talking to a Nurse friend who was leaving Cambodia after being here 4 years and talking about eye surgery and me being keen to give the locals a go.
She suggested Dr Agarwals Eye Hospital. Its a “chain” of hospitals started in India and now with Clinics around the world. The brand, “partners” with local Ophthalmologists. Trains them at the Indian Centre for 12 months to ensure they are “up to standard”.
Also the clinics are regularly visited by Indian specialists.
I chose the Dr Agarwal Clinic on the road to the Airport, partnered with Dr Kong Piseth.
Appointment made for 3pm day following enquiry! No waiting 6 weeks here. Cost $25
This Clinic is more “upmarket” than the first place. Certainly looks very hygienic and clean. A large spacious reception area with soft chairs. All staff seem competent in English so no having to fall back on sign language and my very very basic Khmer.
After taking medical history I was taken for 3 eye tests. One machine to check focus the second to puff air on to my eye(to check eye pressure) then a sophisticated look at the chart…with different lenses including a first for me a “keyhole” option. Could read much better with the keyhole option than with regular glasses.
Then a visit with the “Doctor” in Asian style(compared to New Zealand style where Doctors are a bit more chatty). Asian style seems to focus on gruff professional.
Then out to reception to get eye drops to “widen the eyes”. Then back to see the doctor.
Yes cataracts. “How long from when I decide until I have the surgery”. This said at 3:30pm. Answer. “We can fit you in this afternoon if you want”.
(seems they do surgery every afternoon starting around 4:30pm)
Then to the nice lady “customer adviser” who took me through step by step what would happen.
1. Choose lens $700-$2,000 (bifocals)
2. Have a pre op health test for health of eye. Allow One hour (allow $80 for tests& medications). Seems high blood pressure and diabetics are not good and eye structure itself needs to be healthy.
3. Get a customer card if I want to make another appointment…..
Say I will think about t
Time goes by then…….Part 2 to follow
I got my eyes done. Left eye 2017, right eye April 2018.
$700 both times.
The clinic is the same but the Dr Agawahl franchise has regrouped and now only operates in India and Africa.
Turn up about 4:30pm (they ask for 3pm but that just adds 90 minutes to the time)
They give you a quick eye test.
Then its drops in the eyes and wait in reception until all is well.
Around 5:15 was directed upstairs to the surgery area.
A waiting room with a couple of other people waiting for ops.
Then in to preopp, get dressed in clinical gown with bootees and hat.
Preopp Surgeon puts anesthetic around eye. (small pricking sensation).
Wait for eye to numb(can still see ok). About 15 minutes.
Then in to the main surgery.
The surgeon has great english (he has Kiwi son in law and grand daughter).
I was a bit nervous(I am an injection whimp) So a bit of chat to relax me.
Then down to business.
The team wrap up your head with just the cataract eye exposed.
No pain but all you see is a very bright light(its the laser tool?)
Some machine noise
9.5 minutes later.
Its all over.
Eye patch applied and a see you in the morning.
Back at 8am ish.
Eye patch removed. Look in the eye. All is good.
Given two types of eye drops (one antibiotic to inhibit any infection, the other to keep eye liquid)
Some follow up visits next 3 days then a week or so later.
They provide dark glasses as new eye is very light sensitive and especially at night with car/moto lights, can be very dazzling for a few days.
I was very surprised how quickly the brain adjusted after the first opp to handle one excellent eye and one bung eye(they had asked if I wanted both eyes done at once but that was too much for me to handle so decided a few months apart was the go.
Clean efficient and appeared to tick all the tests and caution boxes.
No slam bang thank you mamm.
Dont know if its because I was foreigner(by the way saw other foreigners at the clinic from time to time) but not a lot of chitchat from Doctors(who had great English) without me “”pushing””
There is only one fee($700) for the opp. All followups and medicines(eye drops) and glasses are included.
The waiting around after having eye drops was a frustration for me….But I hate waiting for anything…
Yep. Would happily do it all again.