Over the past six weeks, Jenny has been bravely manning the fort while I’ve been in the Philippines. Now while she’s in Darwin and East Timor, it’s my turn.
But even though the workload is incredibly demanding on one person, it’s worth it in the long run. Our trips away are all for a good reason.
One of our aims in our artificial eye business is to establish artificial eye clinics in countries where a huge need exists. In the past, I’ve visited Kuala Lumpur, Bahrain, Dubai and the Philippines with this long term goal in mind.
In setting up these clinics, I’ve been providing a visiting service on roughly a six monthly basis. In these clinics, I make artificial eyes, do adjustments and polishing.
Whilst doing this, I’ve always been on the look out for a local to train up so that the service could continue while I’m not there.
And at last, this goal is coming to fruition.
my recent trip to the Philippines was very successful. I went to train Owel Sabre, who lives in Manila, on the process of making conformer shells.
Just to remind you, a conformer shell is placed in the eye socket immediately after eye removal. It plays a vital role in healing. The shell stays in the patient’s socket for about six weeks after which the first artificial eye is fitted.
Over the past three years, I’ve steadily been setting up a laboratory in the Philippines with equipment from Australia. This is where Owel and I worked together for a month, while he perfected his skills.
At the end of this time,Owel was able to competently manufacture conformer shells.
The reason I’ve concentrated on teaching him to make conformer shells is not just because it’s a precursor to making an artificial eye. It’s also to resolve a longstanding problem we’ve been having with conformer shells in Australia.
Currently, the conformer shells available in Australia are manufactured by people with expertise in plastics, not artificial eyes.
A conformer shell is like a temporary artificial eye. It requires a lengthy polishing process to ensure comfort in the eye socket.
And this is what’s missing in the current manufacturing process.
Without the relevant knowledge, the shells being produced are just basic plastic moulds. They have very defined edges and can feel quite sharp when worn.
Not only does this cause discomfort to the wearer, but also prolongs the healing process after eye removal.
Owel will be making six conformer shells a day. This entails making the mould, curing the plastic and then polishing the finished product.
Once available, we’ll distribute samples of the conformer shells to hospitals in Western Australia. Later on, we’ll extend the supply to the rest of Australia.
On my next visit to the Philippines, I plan to train him in the next stage of making artificial eyes. Hopefully, I’ll have found another person to take over the manufacture of the conformer shells.
During this trip, I fitted an eye prosthesis for a lovely lady from Cebu. She has invited me to visit Cebu which is in the Southern Philippines. I hope to run a clinic there on my next trip which will be in January 09.
This last visit was a most productive and enjoyable holiday.