Prolapse of Orbital Fat – Iloilo City, Philippines. We share this medical tidbit to help expats considering life in the Philippines, but who are concerned about the quality of Philippine medical care. This is not a conclusion but rather an anecdote given for whatever help it may be to others.
My wife’s sister returned from work in Kuwait with a scary looking growth in one of her eyes. We were very afraid it was a tumor. We took her to one Iloilo ophthalmologist who recommended a biopsy which could be done at a lab in the same building. We wanted a second opinion so we took her to ophthalmologist, Dr. Karen Francia who had been highly recommended to us by other Iloilo expats. It was a good recommendation. Dr. Francia felt that the problem was a prolapse of the orbital fat in her eye. Between the eye socket and the eye itself is a layer of cushioning fat. Eye injuries can cause this fat to bulge out of the socket and into the area of the eyelid. This is not a common condition and Dr. Francia wanted a second opinion from a Manila ophthalmologist, Dr. Mae Singson. Dr. Francia arranged for Dr. Singson to come to Iloilo to consult on several of her complex cases. Dr. Singson confirmed the diagnosis of a fat prolapse. She said she could remove it surgically. The total cost for doctor and hospital for the surgery would be P15,000, a little over $300. If the surgery was done in Manila the cost would be P25,000. Dr. Singson made it clear that the condition was mainly cosmetic and did not encourage surgery. Through my Internet research I had already learned that this was likely to be the case. The fee for Dr. Singson’s consultation was P400 or about $8.50.
This was reassuring in that a fairly obscure condition was properly diagnosed and that proper treatment options were presented without trying to pressure us into further treatment. This is especially so after my experience with a Cebu City ophthalmologist who put pressure on me to have cataract surgery. I waited until I got home to New York and consulted with my ophthalmologist there who said I definitely did not need the surgery. So there’s another anecdote about Philippine medical care.
I feel there is good care available from some excellent doctors. There are also poorly trained doctors. One conclusion is that there is much more variability in quality of care than you’ll probably find in your home country. This means you’ll have to be careful in screening your medical care providers. That’s not necessarily so easy for the foreigner living here. This is just a small contribution based on our experiences. Also see /recommended-iloilo-philippines-doctors-and-dentists/