The 2017 Hopeful Ways Eye Care Medical Brigade was a tremendous success and provided free eye care services to almost 3,000 of the poorest people in Juigalpa Nicaragua. The services included vision screening, eye examinations, eye surgeries (for cataracts, pterygium and strabismus), prosthetic eyes, and dispensing of prescription and reading eyeglasses, sunglasses, safety glasses and eye moisturizing drops.
Many of these people had never been seen by an eye doctor during their lifetime, and a pair of prescription eyeglasses could cost 6 months wages. Some cataract patients had conditions so severe that they were essentially blind in both eyes. For them, cataract surgery was a miracle that restored their vision. One woman began to cry while stating that she had never seen her grandchild’s face before.
The medical brigade included 21 people from the USA, who worked very closely with the Nicaragua Lions and Leos Clubs, as well as like-minded Nicaraguan community members. The Nicaragua Lions prepared the clinic site, provided for brigade logistics and clinic lunches, registered and coordinated patients, and were trained to staff the clinic stations. This project could not have been as successful without the tremendous support and dedication of the Nicaraguan Lions and Leos. On any given day, the clinic was staffed with over 75 volunteers working to improve the lives of the less fortunate.
The Nicaragua mission report contains more details and all the statistics. But the real accomplishments were seen on the faces of the people who received the free eye care services. The gift of clearer vision made a significant positive impact on their lives and provided hope for their futures.