Faculty Member Richard Gieser, MD
Location Kabul, Afghanistan [ MAP ]
Hospital The Noor Eye Hospital

October 20, 2004

Noor Eye Hospital
Kabul, Afghanistan

Dr. Gieser taught at the Noor Eye Hospital for six weeks at the invitation of Herb Friesen, MD, the Director of the Noor Eye Hospital and a past resident at Hines Veterans Hospital. The Noor Eye Hospital was the best teaching hospital in Afghanistan with eight residents and organized teaching programs. It was built with money from the Lutherans in Germany and was a spectacular white stone structure.

The unusual ocular findings were dry age-related maculopathy. No cases of choroidal neovascularization were seen. Vernal catarrh is a severe blinding problem. There is a great amount of poorly handled ocular trauma, including the presence each day of someone that had been blinded by fishing. The Afghans use dynamite as fish bombs to cause an explosion that would stun the fish. Sometimes the dynamite would explode before getting into the water.

One weekend, the Giesers went north to Bamyon to see the 90-foot Buddahs carved out of a side of a mountain that were destroyed by the Taliban after being present for over 1000 years. Another weekend trip included a trip through the Khyber pass to Peshawer, Pakistan in an old school bus, which was filled with peasants and chickens. An unusual souvenir was the parasite Giardia that remained with the Giesers for weeks after their return.

Dr. Friesen was sent out of the country by the Russians and he started an eye hospital in northern Pakistan. One of his residents at this hospital was Dr. Abdulla Abdulla, who has become the Prime Minister of Afghanistan.