Free eye clinic at San Ignacio Community Hospital Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 June 2018 00:00

A group of eye specialists from the U.S held their last session on Wednesday in the Cayo District, and in doing so, conducted a number of life changing operations. For Francisco Cal from Armenia Village it was more than special; as he walked out in the morning from the San Ignacio Community Hospital post-surgery, with his happy wife following closely behind. One of those heroes to the rescue, Dr. Robert Petes brimmed at the fact that now Cal can see well.

For Belizean ‘foot soldiers’  to the U.S medical team,  newly appointed Justice of the Peace Andre Lopez and Pharmacist Ruth Guitterez,  all the planning was finally paying off as patients streamed in to get free eye care.  Before every visit by the eye doctors both Belizeans ensured that the paper works were in order and that there was a place for them to operate.

The eye team has been in Belize since Thursday of last week and part of the working force will be staying in Belize until this Monday to ensure that all patients are doing well. The eye doctors are here to treat a range of eye disorders such as cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and the rampant Ptrygium.

We spoke to Dr. Peter Jensen about Ptrygium or ‘Carnosidad’ and he said that the condition is genetic and is predominant in certain groups of people. He said that the condition is made worse by any sort of eye irritation such as excessive sunlight, dust and allergies.

Dr. Jensen advised that to prevent ‘Carnosidad’ one’s eyes must be kept as comfortable as possible, such as by using sun glasses, moisture drops and antihistamines (for allergies).

“We love coming here, we love being able to sharing our skills with the people of Belize; especially those poor, who could not otherwise afford it”, says Dr. Robert Petes, lead Ophthalmologist, who is now in his 12th mission to Belize.

Some of the patients coming to the eye clinic today have already been screened, referred to by Private eye doctors now operating in Belize. Volunteer Ruth Guttierez also told us that if some of these eye surgeries had been done in the private sector, they would cost about $1,500.00 to $2,000.00

But thanks to Lions Eye Bank in West Central Ohio and El Can Pharmaceuticals, many Belizeans can now see light at the end of the tunnel. The eye team hopes to make another trip to Belize next year with the green lighting from the Belize Ministry of Health.