Heroes of Orbis: Bulgan Orgilsaikhan

When Bulgan was just 11 years old, she had her sight saved on a Flying Eye Hospital project in Mongolia. Now, she is a successful business entrepreneur, a board member for Orbis Canada, and an ambassador for the global eye health community.

When she was just 10 years old Bulgan was in a life-changing car accident, which had a devastating effect on her family and left her with a sight-threatening eye condition.

Bulgan Orgilsaikhan Hunter Cherwek pictured at an Orbis Gala

Bulgan with Dr. Hunter Cherwek, Vice President of Clinical Services and Technologies, at the 2019 Gala.

Dealing with the trauma of the accident was only half of Bulgan’s struggle – every two days she had to endure a painful procedure to clear out her damaged tear ducts with a needle.

At that time, there were no pediatric eye doctors in Mongolia who knew how to repair Bulgan’s injuries. For a whole year, Bulgan had to carry on with this painful routine to prevent her from losing her sight altogether.

Bulgan as a young girl, pictured smiling with her mother

Bulgan is pictured here with her mother as a young girl in Mongolia

Then, in 1998 hope arrived for Bulgan and her family when the Flying Eye Hospital landed in Mongolia. Bulgan had been chosen as a training case by Mongolian doctors so they could learn how to carry out the complex tear duct surgery she needed by our team of volunteers.

Having her sight restored didn’t just mean the end to her painful daily routine, it also meant Bulgan could fully participate in her education and community once more – and work towards her dream of studying in North America.

Bulgan Orgilsaikhan

Thank good­ness Orbis came in and fixed my prob­lem; oth­er­wise, I would have been doing this all my life.

Now, more than twenty years later, Bulgan is a successful entrepreneur in Canada and an active ambassador for the global eye health community, kindly giving up her free time to help combat vision loss.

And in 2014, she saw the long-term impact of our work while volunteering on a Flying Eye Hospital program in Mongolia as a translator. Here, she encountered Dr. Bayasgalan Purevdorj, an oculoplastic surgeon from her home country of Mongolia, who is an expert in tear duct surgery—the same sight-restoring procedure Bulgan herself had all those years before.

Bulgan Orgilsaikhan

It was my first Fly­ing Eye Hos­pi­tal pro­gram that I par­tic­i­pat­ed in as a vol­un­teer, and I was just blown away. I am a for­mer patient, so I knew what they do, but to see that first­hand – to see the actu­al live lec­tures and surg­eries – the whole thing was such a great experience!

Bulgan’s support for eye care hasn’t stopped there! Recently she turned her hand to communicating vision loss to a wider audience, joining Dr. Hunter Cherwek to co-present two episodes of our SIGHTLINES podcast series.

Bulgan co-presents this episode of SIGHTLINES about the critical role women have to play in the fight against global blindness

As a former patient and now a board member for Orbis Canada, Bulgan brings a unique perspective. We are so grateful to Bulgan for supporting our work so wholeheartedly and in so many ways!

Slideshow: Bulgan’s journey with Orbis over the years

Orbis in Mongolia

Orbis is dedicated to improving access to eye care in Mongolia, with a big focus on training and mentoring the next generation of eye care professionals.

Mongolian is one of the rarest languages in the world,” Bulgan tells us “Not much content is available, even on the internet. So I am very thankful when I think that Cybersight is the only professional platform that conducts lectures in Mongolian.”

Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, partners and supporters, we have been able to translate learning materials and training courses on Cybersight into Mongolian, meaning more young eye doctors can develop the skills they need to save sight.

Bulgan Orgilsaikhan

Orbis has been help­ing Mon­go­lia for the past two decades. I am a liv­ing patient and the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of Orbis’s work. I’m not a doc­tor but I’m a fan of Orbis. This is my love, so I love spend­ing time and devot­ing my time to any­thing, be it vol­un­teer­ing to trans­late on the Fly­ing Eye Hos­pi­tal or being a board mem­ber here in Canada!

We want to say a big thank you to Bulgan for everything she does to help fight avoidable blindness. You are an inspiration to everyone at Orbis and a true Eye Care Hero.

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