Healthy Living

Mar 19, 2010 4:10 PM by Carina Corral

Locals set sights on improving eye care abroad


Local rotarians and eye surgeons set off on Saturday for an eye opening experience.

The Rotary Clubs of Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach-Five Cities and Nipomo will take their vision of helping people to Honduras where they have helped to fund a mission to perform cataract surgeries on the needy.

"These are very, very poor people and they can't afford it, as a result they let the cataract go, and go and go until it's as hard as a rock," said Dr. Sonny Higginbotham.

Drs. Higginbotham and Adam Abroms of Pacific Eye Surgeons, local rotarians-- including a videographer-- and staff from Oak Park and Premier Surgery Centers will set up shop at an eye clinic in El Progresso to perform 100 cataract surgeries in one week.

"These people are coming from very far away. I mean the access to medical care is very small and so these people are going to be influenced like no other. It's going to be incredible," said Registered Nurse and organizer of the trip, Lisa Evans, who is also the president of the Grover Beach Rotary and Director of Oak Park Surgery Center and Premiere Surgery Center of Santa Maria.

Additionally, the local rotary groups secured a $20,000 grant through Rotary International, "in which we can provide equipment, cataract instruments and supplies to leave a legacy with them to carry on after we are there for the week," said Evans.

The dramatic difference that results from replacing the clouded lens of the eye with an artificial one is usually visible by the next day.

"They think it's a miracle. I try to tell them its technology, but they think it's a miracle," said Dr. Higginbotham.

Organizers stress this is a collaborative effort among the Rotarians and several sponsors including: Alcon Laboratories, See International, Stardust Cruises Limousine Service, and EMO Transportation.

The group hopes to make more trips to Honduras and expand their efforts to Guatemala and Vietnam.

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