Koem Hen is a mother of five and a 62-year-old rice farmer who has three daughters, two sons, and many grandchildren. Because Koem Hen is older, she no longer works in the field. Nowadays, she helps her youngest daughter to take care of grandchildren and sell food out of their house. Her husband passed away from tetanus 20 years ago. In her free time, she likes to listen to the radio, especially the chanting and preaching of the monks, and watch Khmer dramas on TV.
Ten years ago, Koem Hen developed a pterygium in her right eye, causing her eye to look unsightly, with itchiness and frequent tearing. Pterygiums are non-cancerous growths of the conjunctiva, a mucous layer that lubricates the eye. The growths occur when the conjunctiva is exposed to excessive sun damage and the cells grow abnormally over the pupil. She has difficulty seeing things clearly, recognizing faces, working, and going anywhere outside.
When Koem Hen learned about our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre, she traveled for three and a half hours with her daughter seeking treatment. Koem Hen needs a surgical procedure to remove the abnormal conjunctiva from the cornea surface and replace it with a conjunctival graft to prevent recurrence. The total cost of her procedure is $216. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care for two days. The procedure is scheduled for January 18th.
Koem Hen shared, “I hope that after surgery, I will have good eyesight again. I want to take care of myself and my grandchildren, cook for my family, and help my daughter.”