Most of us look forward to a Thanksgiving spent with friends or family, filled with turkey, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, or whatever delicious and plentiful combination of foods your group traditionally puts on the table. There may be football on the TV, food induced naps on the couch, and all the warm fuzzies that come with the day and the approaching holiday season. What you may not know, is that two of our doctors spend this holiday out of the country, giving hundreds of people one more thing to be thankful for, newfound or rediscovered sight.
Dr. Andrews and Dr. Tilton just returned from Jamaica and a week and a half of volunteer work with The Eye Health Institute. EHI serves as a not-for-profit eye clinic by providing eye care to the people of Jamaica who don’t have the financial means. The need for this service is great, especially in rural communities. Over the years more than 7,000 people have been served, more than 3,500 pairs of glasses have been provided, and more than 60 sight restoring procedures have been performed by the surgical team, which includes Dr. Andrews and Dr. Tilton.
The experiences of these trips inspire our doctors and the volunteers to return to Jamaica year after year. There was a young woman patient that had been legally blind for over ten years who burst into tears when she was given glasses; she had not seen her mother’s face since she was a child. Women who had lost the ability to sew have been given the opportunity to return to work as seamstresses simply because they received a pair of reading glasses. Churchgoing patients were thrilled by the fact that they could once again read their Bible. A young boy who was failing in school and was once thought to be learning disabled was found to be highly nearsighted. Glasses allowed him to participate in classroom activities and resume learning alongside his classmates. EHI makes this trip annually to provide care and glasses to people who don’t have the access or the means to see an eye care provider. Every year they are rewarded with the dramatic impact they are able to make in the lives of the people that they help.
For more information about the Eye Health Institute and photos from the trips visit: http://eyehealthinstitute.org/