Some general observations on Ophthalmology in the NI:
De Vereeniging tot verbetering van het lot der blinden in NI was founded in 1906. It actively pursued the aim to fight all kinds of eye diseases by encouraging preventive, especially hygienic measures. In 1890 almost 10,000 civilian eye patients had bene treated, ranking the 5th in frequency among the categories of diseases. Because of the poor hygienic circumstances many inflammations of the conjunctiva were seen and needed surgical intervention. Many children were victims of trachoma*, a chronic inflammation leading to blindness, if untreated. In some parts of the archipelago, trachoma was found in more than 20 % of the population. The northern part of Java, the Moluccas and Atjeh were the regions that were most strongly affected. Besides trachoma, cataract*, avitaminose and venereal diseases caused a lot of blindness. The travelling ophthalmologists J.Tijssen and J.G van Manen tried to relieve the burden of eye problems with the population. Van Tijssen, Westhoff and P.Wijn started also eye clinics for permanent patient care. By 1940, about 25 eye specialists could be found in the entire archipelago and eleven eye clinics were operating, nine of them on Java and two on Sumatra.
Ophthalmology hospital Ngawi
One of the health officers in the Semarang region, P. Wijn, was an ardent champion of eye clinics. In 1904 he started an eye clinic at Ngawi (Central Java) and advocated the establishment of more facilities for eye diseases. He reported some success in treating eye patients with the following comment:
” The fact that in a short time about 1,000 eye patients apply for help proves the great need for large parts of the population to get eye treatment. Occasionally, there will be about 100 patients at the same time on one day. Many of them come from far away and to my astonishment they sometimes stay in the neighborhood for two or three months to be treated daily for a short wile.” P.Wijn is later mentioned as the director of the Queen Wilhelmina Eye Hospital at Bandung, after its first director Westhoff died.
GTNI over 1904 en 1906 een verslag van de directeur