As many of you know, I was in Guatemala recently for a surgical mission trip at Hospital De La Familia. In a course of 5 days, we did 127 surgeries in on of the poorest regions in the world, the western highlands of Guatemala, and provided specialized clinical and surgical care to those who would not otherwise receive it.
We had several specialties represented included gynecology, general surgery, plastic surgery (cleft palates and cleft lips) and optometry/ophthalmology.
While most of the specialty clinics and surgeries are only available when the US medical teams visit (typically 7-8 groups teams per year), there is a fully staffed eye clinic that functions year round and the US medical team augments the Guatemalan medical staff during their visits.
La Familia Eye Center is dedicated to preventing and reversing vision loss to all people across Guatemala and southern area of Mexico, regardless of ability to pay.
This center is truly one of a kind, with state of the art equipment and care that you cannot get anywhere else in Guatemala, and probably Central America.
Poverty and vision loss are inextricably tied.
Most people in this area are indigenous Maya and most cannot read or write and live in abject poverty. Manual labor and working in fields is the most common means to earn a living, with a typical income around $2 per day. The constant exposure to direct harsh sunlight contributes to cataract development in these folks, ultimately leading to blindness. When a family member loses their vision, it impacts the entire families ability to literally survive.
It was incredible to see this clinic and what they are doing for the people they serve. In addition to cataract surgeries, they did 7 corneal transplants during our visit. There were hundreds of eye patients that were treated at La Familia Eye Center while we were there, and that means hundreds of families positively impacted.
Bringing this full circle, it was a great reminder that we can have a positive impact on our own eye health by protecting our eyes from ultraviolet light.
At Save The Wave Skincare, we talk so much about skin health and protecting ourselves with daily sunscreen and protective clothing/hats. Our eyes deserve all of the love too! When outside, consistently wear sunglasses with broad spectrum coverage - your eyes will thank you