Tushig, a little boy from Mongolia, leans against a brick wall holding a football

Cybersight Stories: Preserving Tushig’s Vision

2023 marks 20 years of our award-winning e-learning platform, Cybersight! Here we reflect on the impact it has made on eye care around the world. Meet Tushig, a bright young boy from Mongolia, who was born with severe retinal problems. Thanks to expert guidance delivered via Cybersight, Orbis-trained Dr. Battsetseg was able to save his vision.

Tushig had deteriorating vision from ptosis (drooping eyelid) and amblyopia (lazy eye) and was very prone to accidents. When he was three, young Tushig broke his leg while running in the house. Thankfully the family were introduced to a wonderful pediatric surgeon, Dr Battsetseg, at our partner Mother and Child Hospital, in Ulaanbaatar.

Tushig is the middle brother of three, and as can often be the case with congenital conditions, both his siblings were also born with vision problems. After successfully managing Tushig’s case, Dr. Battsetseg examined the two other brothers.

A pediatric ophthalmologist examines her patient Tushig who was treated for blinding eye condition ptosis

Paediatric ophthalmologist Dr. Battsetseg examines Tushig's sight

Dr. Battsetseg was able to save the sight of the youngest boy with a laser procedure and used retinopathy of prematurity to connect with Orbis retinopathy of prematurity and world-renowned retinopathy of prematurity specialist, Dr. Paul Chan, to report on the post-op checks.

Unfortunately, the eldest brother had already become irreversibly blind, but Tushig still had a slight amount of vision in his right eye; precious vision that could be restored through a blend of surgical procedures, laser treatments, and glasses.

In the years leading up to the treatment, Tushig coped surprisingly well with his ptosis by tilting his head backward and raising his eyebrows so he could see. Even before his eyelid was lifted, the seven-year-old Lego fan didn’t let his vision impairment stop him. He was often seen running, playing soccer, or even riding his bike. But he needed surgery as the risk of losing his sight increased.

A Complex Case

Dr. Battsetseg turned to Cybersight again to gather more expert advice for Tushig’s case. She told us: “I consulted with Dr. Ron Pelton on Cybersight because I thought that the timing for Tushig’s ptosis surgery might be a little bit late — because usually if both eyes are affected, one eye should be operated at an earlier age. And so, I was thinking about whether it was necessary to do surgery, because his eyesight is already not good. I also suspected some slight ptosis in his other eye. And that's why I sent photos to Dr. Pelton. He suggested we do the surgery because it was Tushig’s better, functioning eye… his promising eye… and it would be worth lifting that lid up.

After surgery, Tushig’s working eye has become more visible, and his appearance had brightened. She added: “Looking good is really important. Children go to school. They communicate with other kids. So, for this reason, Tushig is happier, and he has expressed being satisfied about himself, and how he looks, among his peers and society. In addition to his vision being restored, this too is so important.

I became handsome,” said Tushig with a smile.

Tushig poses for a photo on his bicycle in his neighbourhood in Mongolia after undergoing treatment to save his vision

Tushig can look forward to a brighter future now his vision has been preserved

Now Tushig can follow his dream of becoming a video game developer. He can also look forward to a future of playing chess and soccer without the threat of his sight being lost permanently.

Celebrating 20 Years of Cybersight

A Mongolian ophthalmologist uses Cybersight's Consult Service on her laptop to liaise with members of Orbis Volunteer Faculty

Dr. Battsetseg using Cybersight for another clinical case

Thanks to Cybersight, Dr. Battsetseg was able to access to the world’s leading ophthalmic experts to help guide her through Tushig’s complex procedure.

The wide-reaching impact of Cybersight is testament to the foresight and skill of its creator. In 1998, Dr. Eugene Helveston, then part of Orbis Volunteer Faculty, built the first-ever internet-based ophthalmic telemedicine program. Then in 2003, Cybersight officially launched, paving the way for landmark changes in ophthalmic education.

With the help of our incredible supporters, the platform has gone from strength to strength growing to more than 85,000 registered users hailing from nearly every country and region in the world. It has delivered more than 30,000 patient consultations, helping diagnose and treat patients from all corners of the world.

In the past four years, the number of users has rocketed. There have been more than 119,000 webinar attendances, over 246,000 course enrolments, and Cybersight videos have been viewed more than 11 million times. Using Cybersight, we also seamlessly transitioned our in-person Flying Eye Hospital projects to virtual ones throughout 2020, 2021, and 2022.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Dr. Helveston and all the other Orbis pioneers who have helped grow Cybersight into the leading ophthalmic telemedicine platform in the world.

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