Our own Dr. Tom Edmonds kicked off 2016 by volunteering his time and surgical expertise to those in need. From Jan. 1-8, Dr. Edmonds traveled to Honduras with his daughter, Nicole, to perform free cataract surgery as part of the SEE (Surgical Eye Expeditions) International program.
Along with Dr. Angelo, a local Honduran ophthalmologist, he performed 185 sight-saving surgeries. Working 10-12 hour days, Dr. Edmonds and Dr. Angelo were able to operate on every patient scheduled and no patients had to wait until next year for their surgery. “It was very rewarding to see patients removing their patches on the first day to find out they could see again,” said Dr. Edmonds.
Over half of the people he treated were legally blind in both eyes due to cataracts. The high presence of cataracts is largely due to continual exposure to sunlight because they live so close to the equator.
Honduras is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and in the southern part of the country, the area of Honduras where Dr. Edmonds traveled, the poorest area in the country can be found. Dr. Edmonds was greeted by hundreds of patients daily. Most patients were too poor to own a car so many walked very long distances to get to the clinic.
The nearest eye clinic is in Tegucigalpa which is two hours away on a very bumpy road. With an unemployment rate of over 50%, most patients cannot afford the transportation to get there and would have to sell their homes to afford the cost of cataract surgery (over $2,000 per eye in Honduras).
This was the second trip for Dr. Edmonds. Back in 2013, he took part in the eye brigade. Word of mouth has spread quickly about this yearly clinic. SEE had planned on opening the clinic for six days, but after two and a half days, the clinic had to be shut down because the maximum surgical load had been met.
If you would like to see what this experience was like, please click on the videos below.
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