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I have just returned from the 7th Hong Kong
seat of the Tibetan Government. It is situated on
Ophthalmological Symposium.This meeting was a big
Marpo Ri hill, 130 metres above the Lhasa valley.
success with over 800 delegates, including theyounger generation of Ophthalmic Surgeons from
The Potala Palace rises a further 170 metres and
mainland China, who have a relatively good
involved walking up 326 steps, which we had to do
understanding of English. There was a lot of interest
quite slowly! It is the largest monumental structure
particularly in the live surgery session, which
in Tibet and has developed from the original palace
included a contribution from two mainland Chinese
built in 637 AD. After this we visited the Dalai
Lama's summer residence the NorbuLingKa Palace,which is surrounded by shady arboreal gardens, and
Following the symposium, I had the opportunity to
visit the Department of Ophthalmology and VisualSciences, of the Hong Kong Chinese University,
Also memorable was the working Sera Monastery.
under the chairmanship of Dennis Lam. In addition
This Buddhist Monastery, which originally housed
to a large quantity of clinical research, this
7000 monks, has now dwindled to 700 monks and
department is involved in a lot of genetic and basic
survives on income from pilgrims and tourists. We
science research, as well as supporting “Project
met one young monk, operating a hand printing
Vision” to “supply high-quality affordable eye surgery
press, on which he prints 1000 sheets a day, while
to restore vision for the poor and needy in China”.
listening to Chinese pop music on his MP3 player (at
During my visit, I taught viscocanalostomy/
canaloplasty and performed surgery on patients in
Mia Gu, Klaus Ditzen, Clive Peckar, and Hiltrud Ditzen outside the NorbuLingKa Palace, Lhasa, Tibet
Hong Kong, the first time this surgery has been
July is a good time to visit Tibet; although usually the
temperatures and clear, blues skies. During the day
After this, I travelled with a group from the EuroAsian Ophthalmology Club to Lhasa in
the temperature rose to 30 C and at night was a comfortable 16 C.The ultraviolet at this
Tibet. Lhasa, the capital city, with a population of 300,000, is the lowest part of Tibet and
altitude is fierce and wearing hats and copious sun block was essential.
is situated at 3650 metres above sea level. Ideally, we would have taken a few days toreach this altitude, but because of pressing work commitments, we had to fly direct to
The 2008 World Ophthalmology Congress will be held in Hong Kong from June 28 until
Lhasa from Guangzhou, which is at sea level. We all took prophylactic Acetazolamide for
July 2 2008, in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology and the
at least 24 hours (two members of the group required it for the whole three days' stay).
Chinese Ophthalmological Society. For any of you who have not visited Hong Kong, or
Despite this, we all suffered some minor effects of altitude sickness, with breathlessness,
China, this would be a marvellous opportunity and I would certainly recommend it to
headache, lassitude and fatigue. The trip, however, was fascinating and certainly
you. In the meantime I wish you a most enjoyable summer and look forward to seeing
you all at our annual meeting in Stockholm, in September.
Tibet combines a traditional Buddhist community with the rapid modernisationinfrastructure of China. A modern rail link, connecting it with mainland China, has beenopen since 2006 and there is a new road tunnel connecting the modern airport to themain road into Lhasa. We visited the Dalai Lama's winter residence, the Potala Palace,which contains the sacred gold stupas, or tombs, of the Dalai Lamas and was the previous
International Editorial Board
ESCRS Publication Committee
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