Another successful trip! Our group of twelve members worked hard to help provide eye examinations to over 150 people. This included 25 sight-restoring cataract surgeries and two ear surgeries by Dr. Tim Courville who joined us this year. One teenage patient had an unusual congenital defect of her ear and he was able to correct the problem. He and his team are planning a return visit to tackle more Ear, Nose and Throat problems.
Additionally we had two other eye surgeons besides Dr. Bowers. Dr. Paul Kang, from the Washington DC area, and Dr. Pulin Shah, from New Orleans, helped in providing cataract surgeries. They also plan in returning with their own teams. We are blessed to have so many willing to volunteer their time and talents in caring for the indigent of Roatan Honduras. Many thanks to those who have help our mission financially!
Health In Sight Mission Trip 2018
(Jan 11-15, 2018)
This year’s trip was a little different in several ways. Our most urgent need was to replace two exam lanes of equipment (chair, stand, slit lamp for examinations). The very old equipment was no longer able to provide us with reliable examinations. The newer equipment was purchased through donations and shipped, by boat, to Roatan arriving in December. Since this was a trip to install this equipment we were unable to provide surgeries. Our task was to remove the old equipment, install the new and do as many eye examinations as possible with a smaller team. This trip consisted of myself, my wife Pam, ophthalmic technician Debbie Anderson, and volunteers Craig and Olivia Mitcham. Craig is a fourth-year medical student interested in pursuing ophthalmology and very interested in medical missions. Olivia has worked as an assistant in oral surgery. Everyone on the team was invaluable.
After the equipment was installed we were able to examine over 80 patients many of which hadglaucoma, cataracts and other eye disorders. We dispensed many prescription eye glasses donated by our patients, families, and friends back home. Having newer equipment made a huge difference in being able to provide the highest level of care and patients were very appreciative as always.
On Sunday, we traveled to the West end to visit and spend the day at a children’s home called Sandy Bay Lighthouse Ministry (https://sblmroatan.net ). This wonderful organization has been helping to care for children from challenging circumstances for 15 years and currently houses 27 children. They are growing and also building a school. We had the privilege of providing eye exams and spending time with the children which was a blessing to all of us. Craig and Olivia lead in some worship songs and we did some crafts with the kids……all centered around God’s amazing love for us all. We also distributed handmade crocheted hacky sack balls, gospel toy bears and more from the great volunteers back home known as ‘Stitching 4 Jesus’ led by Nancy Kicher.
Two other eye care teams are arriving in March led by Dr. Justin Stormo-Gipson out of Idaho and Dr. Dan Solverson out of Wisconsin. Various types of eye surgeries and examinations will be provided during those times.
Plans are already being made for our group to return in March 2019 to provide cataract surgery. What can you do to help? Drop off prescription eye glasses to our main office in Lynchburg (Piedmont Eye Center), donate some reading glasses or send a donation of which every penny goes directly to the clinic in providing medical and specialized eye care to the poor in Roatan.
This was the teams’ 13th visit to Roatan, working out of the Oak Ridge Community Clinic in the poorest area of the island. The team consisted of twelve hard working volunteers.
Besides Dr. Bowers, Pam Bowers and Susan Barnett were scrub nurse surgery assistants. Debbie Anderson and Shawn Jennings were certified ophthalmic technicians. Courtney Cooper, grand-daughter to Ketyo who is originally from this community, accompanied the team to run the autoclave. Noemi Bermudez, a 2nd-year medical student from Liberty University helped greatly in the clinic and screening for glaucoma. Finally, the Askew family (Alan, Amy, Austin, Aiden and Ashlyn) provided mush help in the clinic and in repairs to a nearby home whose floor was in very poor condition.
The team was able to provide 22 much-needed cataract surgeries to people, several of whom were bilaterally legally blind but left seeing! Over 100 patients were examined and several new glaucoma cases were detected and treated. Numerous prescription eyeglasses were dispensed to generate numerous smiles. Many of these were given by our generous patients of Piedmont Eye Center. Patients also received Bibles donated by Gideons international by way of Jim Bowers, Dr. Bowers’ father.
In addition to the clinic work, all of us helped to run a Vacation Bible School for the local children and discussed God’s creation and caring for the environment as well as personal health and hygiene. The children received donated gifts and new shoes. The team also distributed hand-sewn hacky-sack balls to the kids and dishcloths to women hand-made by the Lynchburg group known as ‘Stitching 4 Jesus’ headed by Nancy Kicher. What a talented sewing group.
Our recent trip was a success! Over 250 patients examined and 23 patients received sight-saving cataract surgery. We also dispensed many pair of prescription and non-prescription glasses donated by patients and friends of the ministry. We had one issue with power outage during surgery but worked through the case with a portable generator. Despite the challenges we often face in Honduras, God has always given us protection and a means to serve. Looking forward to going again in 2016. Thank you to all those supporting our ministry!
Serving Roatan, Honduras, with better vision & health.