Dr. Patricia Sierra, an ophthalmologist living in Sacramento, CA joined a team of volunteers from CAEC in Honduras in February of 2017. She had no idea that one week’s work could impact so many lives…or how it would impact her own.
She had worked in Honduras before, specifically teaching local ophthalmologists to do corneal transplants. But she was looking for a way to multiply her impact on the Hondurans she treated, and the future eye care leaders in that country.
Faculty members and Sheri Rowen, MD.
That is why she teamed up with CAEC. Dr. Sierra’s group traveled to Honduras for a week in February. They performed over 55 surgeries, including bringing sight to a 40-year old High Myopia patient who wasn’t even able to drive. As Dr. Sierra recalls, “it changed his life” and freed him to support his family and operate independently again.
And while the life-changing surgeries were definitely a highlight of the trip, the biggest impact may have occurred with the local medical residents who were trained in the latest surgical techniques. Previously, most of them had no experience with Phaco. Throughout the course of the week, they had a chance to observe all the surgeries, and receive wet labs and didactic courses on the theory of phaco cataract surgery.
“The surgery was great but the most rewarding part was to see how they appreciated what they were learning and all the tips and skills-transfer… that was the best. The residents desire and enthusiasm to learn was incredible. They’re smart, but Phaco isn’t easy. It takes a lot of practice,” Dr. Sierra said.
“The surgery was great but the most rewarding part was to see how they appreciated what they were learning and all the tips and tricks”
This is the mission of Central American Eye Clinics (CAEC). We want to match medical professionals in the United States who want to help, with clinics and eye surgeons in training in Central America. We don’t just want to perform surgeries, we want to empower local doctors to gain new skills in a way that has a lasting impact on their country. When you empower local staff, your impact increases exponentially. Your legacy isn’t limited to the number of people you treated; it extends to the sight of all those you’ve trained as well. 1 person like you really can change a 1,000 lives. Join us.
Together, we can bring the freedom of sight to thousands.