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Damage uncertain: Vision blurry for survivor of acid attack

After receiving burns to 40 per cent of his body in an acid attack and undergoing surgery five times, 41-year-old Hak Ay now has blurred vision in both eyes, according to the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC).

The survivor of this year’s first recorded acid attack was allegedly targeted by his wife, Tor Rachany, 26, on April 22 in Banteay Meanchey. Ay remains in stable condition at Phnom Penh’s Children’s Surgical Centre, said Erin Bourgois, program manager at CASC.

“In some previous cases [of acid attacks and incidents], eyesight has deteriorated over time and eventually led to blindness,” Bourgois said.

On average, one in four victims treated through CASC is partially or fully blind.

“We are arranging for Ay to have a consultation with the ophthalmologist to determine the damage to the eyes and what further treatment might be needed,” Bourgois said, adding that Ay was eating and moving around with assistance.

Rachany will be tried under Article 20 of the Acid Law for intentionally violent use of concentrated acid. A trial date has yet to be set.

Since the 2011 passage of the Acid Law, which was designed to introduce harsher punishments for perpretrators, reports of attacks have declined to as low as three in 2013. There were 27 in 2010.

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