Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid to visit Wilmer Eye Institute for examination

June 12, 2000

Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid,on a visit to the United States to seek attention for serious vision problems, was scheduled to have his eyes examined today at the Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore.

Holly Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, said Wahid met with his doctor yesterday at Wilmer, and was due for a physical and an eye exam today as an out-patient.

Wahid, an Islamic cleric, was elected in October at age 59. He is nearly blind. His speeches often are read for him by his Vice President, Megawati Sukarnoputri.

News reports from Jakarta said Wahid is being treated at the Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City. His left eye was said to be permanently impaired by diabetes and high-blood pressure. He has 20 percent vision in his right eye.

Dr. Randall J. Olson of the Moran center was quoted as saying that Wahid's eyesight was improving and that he could now distinguish colors and, from a short distance, numbers and letters.

"He really seems to be doing extremely well," Olson told the Jakarta Post.

"But medically speaking, I think the vision he has now is all that he is going to have."

Wahid's brother told the paper that Wahid is consulting the Wilmer Eye Institute for a second opinion.

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