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OptiMed is proud to support the Fred Hollows Foundation in PNG – a needy neighbour.
With the Fred Hollows Foundation organising the travel and accommodation and OptiMed donating 2 weeks  of work time James O’Brien, OptiMed’s Service Manager heads north....

In 2011 Fred Hollows Foundation (NZ) who look after the Pacific Islands contacted OptiMed to ask if someone was available to service equipment in their eye clinics in Madang and also Kimbe on the island of West New Britain. One of OptiMed’s directors, James Christensen , had put my name forward knowing that I might also be interested in taking a side trip to one of the world’s best scuba diving spots, the Walindi Plantation, whilst on West New Britain.
After a full day’s travel via Cairns and Port Moresby I arrived in Madang, a coastal market town that was reminiscent of a far north Queensland town in a time warp from decades ago. Although the local tourist hotels are very nice the public infrastructure is basic; the roads are pot holed, parts of which are frequently washed away during monsoon and then there was the hospital...

laundryPatients laundry is hung on the hedge at the back of the general wards – and the clothes line.

The Fred Hollows Foundation funded eye clinic is quite a contrast to the recovery wards I walked past to start my service work. Although fairly basic (you could be in Concord Hospital’s outpatient eye clinic...... on an extraordinary hot day) the clinic is clean and efficient with an operating theatre and  has a collection of eye equipment either purchased or donated but in such an environment the constant heat and humidity promotes fungal growth in optics causing a spider web of fungal filaments slowly ruining slit lamps, operating microscopes and retinal cameras. The clinic has, over time, installed air conditioners in the operating theatre, screening and consulting rooms however missing window louvers and resource conscious staff mean the air con is only working part time at best leaving the equipment at the mercy of the elements.
Over the few days I was there I worked my way through cleaning and adjusting what I could and checking and calibrating tonometers, keratometers and the like.  Toward the end of one day I was able to observe some operations under way with Dr Rob McKay. ( gowned up and wearing ‘theatre only’ rubber thongs ! )

 OperatingtOperating Theatre at Madang

 beetlenutThe locals chew beetle nut dipped in Lime (like you put on your garden ) The lime which is very light and powdery gets blown into the eyes of the children who are being carried causing corneal damage.


Another day of travel via Port Moresby sent me further north to West New Britain and to the Kimbe Eye Clinic, a partnership between FHF and the local Palm Oil companies, an industry that dominates WNB.  Kimbe Hospital was in an even more dilapidated state however the eye clinic was a new cement block building at the rear of the hospital. Equatorial time really kicked in here as everyone saunters in calmly at 8.00 and the shop closes up at 4.00. The most striking thing working in this environment was turning up to work in shorts and short sleeve shirt and kicking off your muddy shoes at the door.    OH&S...?
Again, working in such a remote spot a bit of pre-trip homework paid off with valuable tips and information supplied by Alcon for an old YAG laser and Zeiss for info on an old but good operating microscope. It was great to see inter company rivalries dropped in a heartbeat when I explained what work I was planning; so many thanks to all of those concerned.
Fred Hollows Foundation and their Ophthalmologists such as Drs Rob McKay and Roger Dethlefs  and others recruited internationally do an extraordinary job with cataract and eye trauma work in PNG and is truly worthy of any spare money and good equipment  you can send their way.
I also made a return trip to Madang and KImbe in 2012 and to Madang again in 2013 for 4 days  and am in touch with the biomedical staff at Port Moresby Hospital when they are in need of parts or information difficult to access in PNG.

staffStaff at Kimbe Eye Clinic, West New Britain PNG.

JOBYours truly in tropical service attire

 AnemoneAnemone fish off Walindi Plantation dive resort, West New Britain.
Anemone fish off Walindi Plantation dive resort, West New Britain.


News and Events

  • New staff member at OptiMed.
    Rae DeZilva has been appointed sales representative for OptiMed in Victoria and Tasmania. Rae, a highly experienced Ophthalmic representative, is based out of of OptiMed's Coburg office and will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to OptiMed.


    Phenol Red Tear Test now available. The PRT test is an alternative to the traditional tear tests as an assessment for dry eye. PRT Tear Test is made of a special cotton thread processed by phenol red pH indicator. It is ensured for its stability as well as its qualities of water absorption. When moistened by tears, thread changes from yellow to light red. This result reflects the amount of tears in conjunctival sac. PRT Tear Test method is fast, less irritative and more precise when comparing with other methods. To order just contact OptiMed on 0800 657720.
  • OptiMed Relocates
    OptiMed have relocated their head office to Castle Hill in Sydney's growing North Western area. The move has come about due to business expansion and will serve the company well for the foreseeable future. The new premises adds about 2oo square meters of space over our old Lane Cove facility providing for a larger showroom and a significantly larger technical repair facility.


     The new address is Unit A, 2 Hudson Ave, Castle Hill. 2154. Phone and Fax numbers remain the same as previous.

    Scuba diving, Beetle Nut and Ophthalmology We caught up with OptiMed Technical Service Manager James O'Brien on his adventure to our northern neighbour Papua New Guinea.
    Australia continues to assist in restoring the eye sight of thousands of PNG people and Optimed is proud to support these efforts by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Fred Hollows Foundation
  • Upcoming Conferences

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