Archive for November 6th, 2008

 

Eye Camp and Halloween in Tamil Nadu

Nov 06, 2008 in Uncategorized

Eye DissectionThis week I went to an Aravind eye camp, continued my research with some eye dissections, and celebrated Halloween by dressing up in a Vesti and Kurta. The eye camp was organized in a temple only about seven kilometers away from the hospital, in Thirupparankundram. There were hundreds of patients, and only three resident ophthalmologists, who managed to see every patient at twice (pre- and post- refraction, intra-ocular pressure test, etc.). Some of the patients had cataracts that were so advanced and opaque that you could almost see it from across the room. The doctors were good about showing me interesting cases, and in the end I learned how to diagnose several different types of eye pathology. I even got some practice with my ophthalmoscope. The problem of language still persists, as my Tamil is slooooowwwly progressing, and therefore I was only observing this time. The organization of the camp was impressive, the sisters (Tamil word for this is Thangachi) taking care of the basic tests like refraction, and was efficient in seeing and caring for many patients.

Things are going well in the lab. This week I dissected three globes (eyeballs) to begin the RNA extraction portion of my experiments. The eyes that were donated were useless for cornea transplantation because of poor endothelium, but fortunately still useful for research. From them I collected cells from the limbal area to continue my experiments in identifying stem cells, which I hope will lead to improved therapeutics in the future…

One of the highlights of this week was Halloween. I had to explain what it was to many of my labmates, but I think anyone can appreciate a celebration that involves sweets and interesting costumes! I also think they were impressed in the evening when I dressed up in traditional Indian garb, the top is northern Indian kurta, and the skirt on the bottom is formal wear from the south, a vesti (see below). I might have to pull this outfit back out at the next festival time!

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