“I keep coming back because it’s the right thing to do.”
Dr. Sui Chien Wong joined the team of EyeCare Project Physicians in 2014, when the London-based ophthalmologist and vitreo-retinal surgeon got a call from the EyeCare Project’s Founder and President Dr. Roger Ohanesian.
Dr. Ohanesian shared with Dr. Wong the overwhelming number of babies in Armenia who were going blind due to a debilitating eye disease called Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) that affects premature infants.
The young London surgeon is among just a handful of doctors in the world with a super-specialty practice in pediatric vitreo-retinal surgery and retinovascular diseases and one of only two surgeons in the world with expertise in pioneering endoscopic vitro-retinal surgery in ROP. Knowing of Dr. Wong’s expertise in this field, Dr. Ohanesian urged the exceptional ophthalmologist to get involved with the EyeCare Project and save infants in Armenia from a lifetime of blindness.
Initially, Dr. Wong had his reservations. He had never been to Armenia before — much less met an Armenian — but eventually, he made his decision.
“It’s not right for babies to go blind when there is potential treatment available,” said Dr. Wong. “I couldn’t refuse Dr. Ohanesian’s request.”
Dr. Wong made his first trip to Armenia in 2014, and has now made 11 visits (and counting) to Armenia to perform surgery and train Armenian physicians — he makes the trip from London about every three months. When in Armenia, Dr. Wong performs sight-saving surgeries on particularly complex cases and visits the AECP Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness in Yerevan and trains Armenia’s leading doctors and surgeons to treat babies and young children with blinding retinal disease, including ROP.
“I keep coming back because it’s the right thing to do,” said Dr. Wong. He jokes that part of the reason he continues to return to Armenia is because of the delicious kebab and coffee.
What does Dr. Wong miss most when in Armenia? Without hesitation, he says his two little boys are number one on the list.
“I do miss them, but they know I am here for a very important purpose,” said Dr. Wong. That purpose is to bring hope and light to families just like theirs in Armenia and to save babies from blindness one surgery at a time.
“The opportunity for me to work with the Armenian EyeCare Project has been a humbling and life-changing experience,” said Dr. Wong. And the EyeCare Project is very grateful to be able to work with a talented eye surgeon like Dr. Wong and one who cares deeply about saving the sight of children in need.