The Australian Antarctic Division is donating four eye examination microscopes to help with sight-restoring surgery in East Timor.

The slit lamp microscopes are used to examine and diagnose a variety of eye conditions, as well as to perform small surgical procedures.

Graham Denyer from the Division’s Polar Medicine Unit said the microscopes were used by doctors at Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic stations, but will now be used as part of the East Timor Eye Program (ETEP) founded by Tasmanian ophthalmologist Dr Nitin Verma (AM).

“This is a great opportunity for us to be able to assist Dr Verma’s work in East Timor, particularly given ETEP’s plans to open new clinics in the country,” Dr Denyer said.

“Australia’s Antarctic stations have been equipped with new digital eye examination microscopes which will allow images of the eyes to be sent directly from the machine back to Australia for diagnosis.”

Dr Verma is Australia’s main medical advisor on eye problems in Antarctica, he started working with the East Timorese in 2000.

ETEP aims to teach East Timorese health professionals skills in eye care and health.