Blindness is a tragedy in any part of the world for all those directly affected. But in Central America, where supportive services are scarce, it has negative repercussions for an entire family system. Caretakers are pulled from the labor force; shared family income decreases; kids lose their childhood, and sometimes their education, caring for elders. And everyone loses their freedom to flourish. We estimate that for every person who goes blind in Central America, the lives of 9 others close to them are significantly affected.
Too Many Central Americans Go Blind from Treatable Cataracts:
There are approximately 50,000 people blind from cataracts in Honduras alone.
Too Few Central American Opthalmologists:
For example, there are only 8 opthalmologists per million in Honduras. For comparison, in Indiana there are 50 opthalmologists for million people.
Insufficient Training Opportunities for Local Doctors:
Central American ophthalmologists generally have lower rates of surgical experience and limited exposure to new techniques and technology.
Inadequate Resources to Foster a Thriving Industry:
Paying patients often leave the country for surgery, funneling resources away from local doctors for further investment in equipment or continuing education.
Central American Eye Clinics, through a network of international and local partnerships, has established a self-sustaining system of charity care, self-paid care, and sponsored research that harnesses the goodwill and expertise of the international medical community, empowers local medical professionals and strengthens the infrastructure of the regional healthcare industry. We do the following to help the people of Central America.
Help Blind People See
CAEC supports over 2,000 high quality cataract surgeries per year in Central America, and that number is growing rapidly. We connect volunteers with our established network of clinics and staff, and handle the logistics of transporting equipment and supplies so our volunteers don’t have to worry about it.
Empower Central American Surgeons and Their Teams
CAEC utilizes visiting surgeons to provide training and surgical experience for local doctors. That training is often supplemented with continuing education opportunities. We are developing a system of cataract surgery delivery and training with Central American doctors .We believe that empowering local staff dramatically multiplies the quality and quantity of the potential impact.
Improve Central American Infrastructure and Strengthen Business Practices
From 1997 till now, CAEC and its predecessors have provided over $3,000,000 in donated medical equipment, medical supplies and services to clinical partners in Central America.
We support the local infrastructure in Central America by purchasing products and services locally whenever possible. We import medical equipment and supplies to Central America from international sources that have been donated by individuals, for-profit corporations, and not for profit concerns of all types.
We follow all the local laws and customs of the respective Central American countries when importing equipment and supplies from international sources, including paying local taxes and duties as required.