Bringing sight to those in need

Eye doctors from Canada and the United States are paying it forward. They will hold three eye clinics in rural areas surrounding (Santo Domingo, the nation’s capital city), to help needy people in the Dominican Republic gain a clearer view of their beautiful country.-MDA

By Anne Bernhardt 

Dr. Matthew Harrison is looking forward to a warm-weather break during January’s cold blast but he won’t be packing any typical vacation gear.

Instead, the local optometrist will fill his bags with antibiotics, eye drops, portable diagnostic optometric and lens-fitting equipment and hand-me-down eyeglasses to help needy people in the Dominican Republic gain a clearer view of their beautiful country.

Dr. Harrison, of Brant Family Eye Care in Paris, is one of only two Canadians selected for the 20-person eye-care team that leaves for Santo Domingo on Jan. 18. The other Canadian representative is an eye technician from London. The remainder of the team – eight optometrists and eight technicians – all hail from the United States. Each representative was chosen in a draw across all TLC Laser Eye Centers.

The primary sponsor of the humanitarian trip, however, is the Pujols Family Foundation launched by Major League baseball player, Albert Pujols and his wife, Deirdre, in 2005 to provide relief in Pujol’s native country.

During their six-day stay, the team will hold three eye clinics in rural areas surrounding Santo Domingo, the nation’s capital city. Their visit is no vacation. While there, the team will perform an estimated 1,000 eye examinations. Clinics will open bright and early each day at 6 a.m., with the team focusing on retinoscopy (checking for eyeglass prescriptions with handheld equipment and portable lenses) and ophthalmoscopy (examination of the retina), which is the most important part of an eye examination.

Throughout, they will be on the lookout to prevent or treat such diseases as glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. They also will prescribe antibiotics and eye drops as necessary and cataract surgery may be arranged. All who need prescription eyeglasses will receive them.

“Many people there never wear sunglasses so their eyes get no protection from ultraviolet rays (a factor in the development of cataracts),” Dr. Harrison said. “Cataracts are easy to see and easy to treat by arranging surgery.”…….

Read more: http://www.brantnews.com/news-story/5187812-bringing-sight-to-those-in-need/

Source: Brant News