Cure Glaucoma works tirelessly around the world to provide care and treatment for those suffering from glaucoma. Take a look at this article about our most recent trip to Kenya, along with some pictures…
9,000 Miles from Home – Cure Glaucoma’s Recent Trip to Africa
On the east coast of Africa, positioned along the Indian Ocean, is the town of Mombasa in Kenya.It sits approximately 9,000 miles from Dallas, Texas, a long way from home and the things we all find familiar. Yet that is where the Cure Glaucoma team went.
Consisting of Cure Glaucoma volunteers, Dr. Tosin Smith of Glaucoma Associates of Texas and her family, along with Surgical Tech Denise Delrio and Dr. Bradley Bowman of Cornea Associates, the team traveled to bring much-needed help to the people of Kenya. They spent a week at the Lighthouse Eye Centre caring for patients, teaching staff and physicians, and performing surgery on patients with complex glaucoma and corneal diseases.
Founded in 1969 by Bill Ghrist, MD – an ophthalmologist from California – The Lighthouse Eye Center is a modern medical clinic and surgery center which not only takes care of patients on a walk-in and appointment basis but also sends out teams to provide care in the rural areas of Kenya. The Center is accustomed to volunteers, as many doctors and healthcare professionals from around the world choose to visit and volunteers their services for up to 3 weeks in order to assist the local staff.
Cure Glaucoma’s trip to Kenya was planned over the course of several months, and volunteers were delighted to finally make it to their destination. On arrival in Mombasa, after a day of unpacking and preparing for work, patient care started early on Monday morning with consultations on complex cases and scheduling of surgeries.
Before the team arrived, Dr. Matende, the medical director at the Center, and his team had previously screened patients and scheduled consultations and surgeries. The daily routine was to see patients in the morning and then spend the afternoon in surgery. It was very inspiring to have Ms. Delrio assisting in surgery, as she was familiar with the complex cases and able to share her experiences with the operating room staff. People of all ages and backgrounds were treated. It was exciting to be able to not only treat patients but also to transfer skills to the staff and work closely with Dr. Ibrahim Matende and his physician colleagues.
During the team’s time there, many glaucoma surgeries were performed, along with cornea transplants. Dr. Tosin Smith said, “The staff was great! We loved them – they were very helpful, hardworking and willing to learn new things. It really was a joy to be able to do so many procedures that had never been performed in Kenya before!”
There were many cases that made an impression on the team, but one in particular that stood out was the three-month-old girls whose medical situation had initially been misdiagnosed. Unlike most cases, her eyes were relatively normal sized, and when tested was able to follow the movement of light. However, Dr. Smith and Dr. Bowman had the opportunity to perform two procedures, and were able to save her eyesight! Plus, reports from Dr. Matende state that all of the patients were doing well at their post-operative visits.
“It was a privilege to represent Cure Glaucoma’s global outreach mission and be part of this humanitarian journey to give sight back to members of a faraway community,” said Dr. Tosin Smith. “The active support for Cure Glaucoma Foundation from individual donors, foundations and businesses made this happen. We could not have done this without you, and the impact of your giving is truly changing lives.”