Professor Sunil Shah has racked up his air miles in recent years. Since 2016, the Consultant Ophthalmologist at Midland Eye and the Birmingham & Midland Eye Centre, has become a repeat visitor to Cambodia where he has led a series of international missions for a local NGO Khmer Sight Foundation (KSF) carrying out sight-saving operations and procedures, such as removing cataracts.

The unlikely alliance all started when Sunil received a phone call from his sister, Roopa, in Australia.

KSF was founded by H.E. Sean Ngu and the late Dr Kim Frumar in 2015, with the aim of creating a brighter and more promising future for ophthalmologic care in Cambodia. In addition to providing international missions, KSF also trains local ophthalmologists in Cambodia so that they are no longer dependent upon international support.

Sadly, Dr Frumar died in 2015, and Sunil got the call from his sister, who knew Frumar’s widow, asking if he would be interested in helping out KSF.


“Sunil rescued Khmer Sight,” says Sean Ngu. “Without his support there would have been no hope for us.”

Sunil led his first mission to the country in 2016, providing free eye surgery to those who are unable to access or afford proper care.

He was amazed to discover the high level of blindness in the country, but also the hope and enthusiasm to turn things around.

“When I got the call from Roopa, I never expected I would still be returning to Cambodia six years on,” says Sunil. “The place and the people suck you in. But there is still so much more for us to do.”

Since Sunil’s first visit to the country in 2016, KSF has performed more than 25,000 eye surgeries. However, it is estimated that more than 180,000 Cambodians are still blind, with 10,000 Cambodians suffering avoidable blindness each year. Some 90% of blindness is avoidable: 79% is curable and 11% is preventable.

Sadly, due to the Covid pandemic there were no international missions in 2020 and 2021. However, the team of locally trained medical professionals continued the work of KSF. International missions recommenced in January 2022.

Sunil has just returned from a mission to Cambodia (4 to 8 October, 2022), with six surgeons, carrying out procedures on approximately 250 patients.

KSF is seeking fundraising as well as international medically qualified volunteers but also volunteers with no medical experience welcome.