MISSION TRIP REPORT ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO
July 17 to 23, 2017
VOSH-SE was contacted to explore the possibility to provide eye care services to a community in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Once the research was done, it was clear that they will benefit from the services and resources that VOSH- SE could provide.
VOSH-SE started working on this project at the end of 2016 with a plan to have clinics in mid July 2017. With the help of the DIF (Integral Development of the family) Zihuatanejo, we were able to solidify this mission and coordinate all the logistics that are involved in such a mission.
We had a wonderful response from optometrists, optometry students, translators and people with and without medical background from around the US and Canada.
We arrived at a venue that was partially outdoor. We had to be cautious regarding the well-being of the patients and volunteers due to excessive heat that Zihuatanejo experiences during the month of July.
The volunteers came together very nicely in coordinating the functionality of the clinic. This composed of multiple stations that allow patients to flow in an efficient manner. The stations included registration provided by the DIF, visual acuity testing, blood pressure and glucose screenings, glaucoma screenings, auto refraction, refraction, dilation, disease and glasses ordering and dispensing. The information gathered from this screening allowed us to impart education, consultation and referrals when necessary.
We were fortunate to have the DIF optometrist (Maria Jose Mejia Bravo, OD) on site with us to provide ongoing care to the patients in need of continuing care. Our data reflects a high incidence of people who will need this continued care to manage their potentially sight-threatening eye care needs, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.
One of our goals was to provide new eyeglasses for every patient in need. This was accomplished with the support of a local lab, Optica Clinica in Zihuatanejo; they were willing to make the lenses for our patients at lower prices paid by VOSH-SE. (Donations were received by people with compassionate hearts to help us to cover the cost of the lenses). In addition, we had many new and stylish frames donated to VOSH-SE by various eyewear vendors and hundreds of new reading eyeglasses. VOSH/ International provided a new product from Essilor Mexico, where we could dispense eyewear and lenses suited for the patient necessities on site. Also VOSH /International donated over 600 new designer sunglasses.
The feedback from the patients was touching because for many of them this was the first time they have new eyeglasses with their own prescription. Because Zihuatanejo is located on the Pacific Coast, sun protection is essential for adults and children. While we had a limited amount of sunglasses, the reaction from the ones who we were able to dispense sun eyeglasses was very moving and at the same time frustrating. We had a limited supply of them on this trip; it indicated to us the high demand for sun protection for everyone.
The overall feedback from the volunteers was an overwhelming feeling of what they are able to provide for the less fortunate and each of them said that they will repeat this wonderful experience.
We want to express our gratitude to Mrs. Maricruz Galeana Leyva, President DIF Zihuatanejo, Lic Xochitl Palacios, Lic Optometrist Jose Maria Mejia Bravo, Betty Sullivan and the rest of wonderful and efficient staff, who worked hard with all the logistics. Also to Natalie Venezia from VOSH/ International and all the volunteers and translators who were willing to donate their time, skills and talents to attain our main purpose set for this mission, which was to serve the most needed community of Zihuatanejo.
Thank you to the following for support and donations and help in making this mission a success, whether it was for donation of drops, glasses, lenses, frames, supplies, use of instrumentation, or donation of time: Allergan Inc., Restoringvision.org, Ocusoft Inc, Bausch + Lomb, Keeler Instruments, Essilor, Allina Health Clinic and Allina Pharmacies, VOSH Southeast Harold Babine, VOSH/ International, DIF Zihuatanejo, Betty Sullivan, Optica Clinica, Papillon Enterprises, Natalie Venezia, and National Vision Inc.. Thank you also to the following for monetary donations: SuEllen Brauer, Carol Larter Johnson, Brian Murray, Ryan Industries, Debra Lassise, Tyler Snyder, Paula Navarro, Helen Tran and John Spencer OD.
John Spencer OD, Lisa Weber OD, Christina Kinney OD, Denise Kimmel COA, Pilar Lozano ABOC, SuEllen Brauer, Julian Spencer, Grant McPheron, Bonnie Chan, Helen Tran, Isabelle Kinney, Tyler Snyder, Kaitlyn Baskerville, Abigail Klick, Sean Tumilson, Rosa Sanchez Sanchez, Paula Navarro, Betty Chen, Natalie Venezia, Paul Sager, Madeline Woodley, Rubana Rahman, Rita Nieu, Jason Grygier, Tara Damani, Avi Yehudai, Jordan Sipe, and Arvin Azizi.
Total of new eyeglasses ordered: 436
Total of new eyeglasses ordered for female: 272
Total of new eyeglasses ordered for male: 147
Total of new eyeglasses ordered for children: 17
Total of Essilor eyeglasses dispensed: 100
12 and under 56
(+) 4.00 123
(-)4.00 > 28
Other RX (high cyl) 81
No Rx Necessary 63
DM ret 31
Cat Ref 89