April and Angela operate system. Helper selects glasses
April and Angela with kids who received glasses. Note posters behind
April refracts a lady on Utila Honduras with Retinomax 3
Refracting a patient in La Union
Refracting a patient in Ocotal
Susie refracting at La Union
Susie with KOM equipment
Susie with patient in La Union Honduras. May 2008
Honduras #3-5, 2008
Below is a report from the leader of three different teams who traveled to Honduras May 24 - June 29, 2008.
From: hjguffey [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2008 2:56 PM
To: 'Tom Camp'; hollandkendall@KendallOptoMinistry.org; 'Cruzadas del Evangelio'; 'Paulette West'
Cc: 'Brent & Doris Brady'
Subject: the 2008 eye team reports
Dear Holland, Sandy, Tom, and Paulette,
Just wanted to share the 2008 eye team reports with each of you and to let you know that using the (Holland) Kendall Optometry Ministry (KOM) computerized inventory of used glasses connected with the Retinomax 3 autorefractor greatly enhanced our ability to fit prescription glasses as well as provide high powered readers for low vision patients. Three AHMEN mission groups participated in this eye care program using the KOM technology and each was highly successful in a unique way. This summary presents only the highlights of our activities. We will be sending complete reports to Sandy under a separate email, since she may need the information for the Honduran government. These reports specify the names, national IDs, demographics, and visual acuities and prescriptive statistics on each patient served. We did our best to record all the data; however, in the midst of miracles we were often too excited to remember to do so. If you would like us to forward any of these complete reports to you, please let us know. Be advised, however, that the Pidgeon Cay report contains 17 pages of material; the Columbiana Report contains 39 pages; the Discovery Report, 41 pages; and the Utila Report, 81 pages.
The 2008 Discovery team led by Joe Jones was the first AHMEN team to conduct clinics in the communities of La Union, Ocotal and Las Quebradas. These remote villages are located in the mountain region of the Department of Olancho, Honduras. The clinics were held May 26 – 29, 2008. The team was composed of Barbara Tackett, Susie Richardson and Mary and Hugh Guffey from AHMEN. Local Honduran translators/volunteers included Dina Sarai Sevilla and Osiris Manuela Sevilla, both from La Union (son and daughter to Pastor Mauricio of the Cruzudas Church in La Union), and Shane Cooper from Cruzadas.
Discovery is also the first AHMEN team to use the KOM program. Together with the fact that it is the first AHMEN team to be so fortunate as to have an optometrist as a team member yielded some pretty high quality eye care for the people of Olancho. Dr Susie Richardson, a Birmingham optometrist, was able to give every patient a complete eye examination. She checked all maculae, retinas, corneas and pupils and referred four patients to the ophthalmologists Drs. Alicia and Luis Ponce in La Ceiba. As a matter of fact she carried a five year old little boy with us on our return trip for his first appointment with Dr. Ponce. Eduar Acosta is scheduled for surgery in the Spring. His life will be forever changed because Susie knew enough to notice his problem and cared enough to do something about it.
During each of our four clinics we checked visual acuity before and after glasses were selected, first to determine the degree of need and second to measure actual vision correction. We did this for dispensing reading glasses as well as prescription eyewear. Every effort was made to select for each individual the pair or pairs of glasses that would most improve his/her vision. The KOM program resource consisted of 2400 pairs of used glasses which gave us an amazing selection from which to choose. We made InFocus instant eyewear for the two people who could not be helped with the KOM supply.
The Olancho mission demonstrated the difficulties of moving a large inventory into remote sites for one day clinics and taught us that a mobile clinic would be the most viable solution. But until someone donates and retrofits a bus or van, maybe we can schedule future missions so that the glasses need not be packed and unpacked more times than necessary. We would be better servants if we could spend less time in set up and take down.
During the four days of clinics, the Discovery Eye Care Team examined 144 patients and distributed 86 pairs of reading glasses, 36 pairs of prescription glasses, and 450 pairs of sunglasses.
The Livingston Chapel UMC team led by Larry “Bucket” Guthrie was the first AHMEN team to visit Utila and the second AHMEN team to use the KOM technology. In preparation for the team’s arrival numerous advertisements were posted throughout the island alerting the population of the forthcoming clinics. The initial response was so great that we elected to conduct a half-day eye clinic on Pidgeon Cay one week before the team arrived. There we examined 62 patients, dispensed 48 readers, and distributed 130 pairs of sunglasses. Since this clinic was limited to eye exams and distribution of readers and sunglasses only, those thirteen individuals needing prescription eyewear were directed to come to Utila when the full team arrived to obtain their far vision glasses. Three persons were referred to Dr. Ponce for advanced treatment. The Pidgeon Cay Eye Team consisted of Brent and Doris Brady and Rosa Rubi from Utila and Mary and Hugh Guffey from Alabama.
The Utila ministry offered a new set of opportunities and challenges. When we opened at 8:00 am for our first day of clinic, it was immediately apparent that demand for service was going to outstrip our ability to supply. We tried to accommodate by holding clinic for longer hours. The Eye Team started at 8:00am that first morning, 7:00am the second morning, and at 6:00am the last two mornings and stayed until 5:00 pm and some days 6pm. In addition, the team cut its lunch break in half the last three days. In total the four days of clinics covered thirty-six hours. In addition to stretching clinic time, it became necessary to add a second near vision testing station. All of these adjustments were made possible because of the team’s size and capabilities. Team members were Angela Calvert, April Burgess, Arlinda McKinnon, Eric Bell, Linda Guthrie, and Hugh and Mary Guffey from Alabama and Brenna Jackson, Johanna Ramon, Maria Hernandez, Nelly Flynn, Precious Hill, Rosa Rubi, and Vitalelis Melendez from Utila. The Livingston Chapel team examined 350 patients, dispensed 152 pairs of prescription glasses, 243 readers, and 1250 pairs of sunglasses. Despite these impressive numbers, we probably could have kept the clinic open for three more days before exhausting the demand. Eleven children and 3 young adults have been referred to Dr. Ponce for evaluation.
Utila was unique in several very special ways: first of all, there was little language barrier, although some of the islanders had difficulty understanding the Alabama accent. Secondly, we had absolutely optimal facilities, the large, airy Bay Island Conservation Association building all to ourselves. And thirdly, and most significantly, half the Eye Team were local non-paid volunteers. This effort was truly a partnership between AHMEN and the people of Utila. This experience gave us a glimpse of what the Eye Care Ministry could be.
The Columbiana UMC team led by Jane Cox was the third team to take the step in faith using the computerized program. Given the high rate of service enjoyed at the Limon CHHF clinic, we had initially anticipated a low level of demand for the eye clinic. We were surprised, however, to find large numbers of persons with truly difficult vision needs. This presented extreme challenges for the team, the computerized system, and our limited inventory of eyeglasses. We were fortunate, however, that every member of the team had attended both the KOM and at least one of the AHMEN eye care training sessions.
The second and third days of clinic were spent in Plan de Flores. This required that we dismantle the complete inventory and transfer it from one location of the next -- twice. This experience demonstrated the possibilities and difficulties in moving between multiple locations. The Eye Team consisted of Joy and Ivan Green, Greg Rushton, Jean Isaacs, and Mary and Hugh Guffey, all from Alabama, with the help of Donna Goff of Limon. Between Limon and Plan de Flores, the Columbiana Eye Team examined 146 patients, dispensed 55 pairs of prescription eyewear, 98 pairs of readers, and 500 pairs of sunglasses. Two patients were referred to Dr. Ponce for further examination. One of the real highlights of this mission was the opportunity to perform eye examinations for the children from the Limon orphanage.
Both the Livingston Chapel and Columbiana Eye Care teams, as did the Discovery team, gave visual acuity checks both before and after glasses were selected, first to determine the degree of need and second to measure actual vision correction, for both prescription eyewear and readers. Again, every effort was made to select for each individual the pair or pairs of glasses that would most improve his/her vision. For some this required quite a lot of time. Nevertheless, in just 12½ days of clinics, with God’s guidance these three teams examined 702 men, women, and children; fitted 245 prescription glasses, dispensed 475 reading glasses, and distributed 2330 pairs of sunglasses. We know God was with us because some real miracles took place. Patients who came in unable to read even the biggest numbers, letters, or figures on the far vision eye charts walked away seeing 20/20. Many more are able to read their Bibles for the first time in years and children who could not see well enough to perform in school now have no excuse! Their smiles were amazing and their hugs were even better.
Those persons requiring possible surgery or specialty eyewear have been referred to Drs. Alicia and Luis Ponce, ophthalmologists in La Ceiba. The Ponces have offered to perform the surgeries charging only for the anesthesia. All three teams have made monies available to those needing financial assistance to cover these costs plus travel expenses. More importantly, each of these teams shared the love of Christ with our Honduran brothers and sisters and with one another, a gift far more valuable than even the best pair of glasses. We were blessed to be a part of their ministry.
Our Goals for 2009 are 1. We would like to acquire an automatic lens meter so that we can also “read into the system” glasses which we collect locally. 2. We would like to “rework” the existing inventory to purge those glasses which somehow became broken or scratched. 3. We need to begin working toward outfitting a relatively rugged mobile unit.
Bucket has already committed to sending two back-to-back teams to Utilla next year, each with a KOM trained component. Discovery has plans to return to La Union in 2009 and the Columbiana Team has already reserved a July time slot for Limon. Brent and Doris Brady along with Dr. Luis Ponce are working on plans for an additional trip into the Moskitia this coming Spring. Our prayer is that more AHMEN teams will choose to participate in the extended eye care program the future.
Amor en Cristo,
Guf and Mary