One of our surgeons had an eventful trip this summer. Dr. Tom Edmonds visited the Lighthouse for Christ in Mombasa, Kenya with his wife and three teenage daughters. Dr. Edmonds spent three weeks there. During his time there, he screened patients and performed cataract surgery. With only three Eye Surgeons to serve 2.1 million patients, there was a great need. None had insurance and 70% were unemployed. Dr. Edmonds’ wife, a dermatologist in Virginia Beach, was able to see dermatology patients in the mornings and the children pitched in with clerical work around the clinic.
On one memorable day, a driver took the Edmonds family to a remote village three hours away. There were no roads for the last hour so they used a four-wheel drive jeep to navigate through the forest. A preacher had gone ahead to announce that they would be holding a free clinic so, when they finally arrived, patients were lined up around the building. Dr. Edmonds screened 70 patients and his wife helped out with moving the patients around. The kids handed out soccer balls and gifts to the local children . It was quite an experience to see life up close in a very remote African village. 8 patients were found to be completely blind due to cataracts. The were given a ride back to the road and transported back to the Lighthouse where Dr. Edmonds removed their cataracts the next day. All patients were blind in both eyes before the surgery and all could see the next day. The surgery was provided free of charge and they were given showers, warm meals, and a bed to sleep in. It was the first shower for all of them as they previously had bathed in the river. It was also one of their first times in a bed. The patients spoke Swahili but it was very rewarding to hear about how happy they were with their vision through an interpreter. Dr. Edmonds appreciated being able to share the experience with his daughters. It was an experience they will never forget.