Mann Eye Institute’s own Dr. Luke Barker recently partnered with Benevolent Missions International, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing needed ophthalmic care to the underserved in many areas around the world.
The recent eight-day trip to rural Corozal, Belize marks the second time Dr. Barker – a refractive surgeon at Mann Eye Institute – was able to serve on a medical mission trip.
“The need is so great in this area,” said Dr. Barker. “We saw over 100 patients per day in clinic over the four days. It was a very busy schedule.”
Dr. Barker performed a total of 50 surgeries – a combination of cataract surgery and pterygium surgery – over the course of the trip. Pterygium (sometimes called surfer’s eye) is commonly found in tropical climates where there is near constant exposure to the sun’s harmful rays.
The people of Corozal and surrounding areas live in poverty and do not have access to even basic healthcare, so vision problems that could easily be corrected often go undetected for years and ultimately result in blindness.
“There is nothing like the feeling of seeing the happiness in patients’ eyes and the joy on their faces when they are able to see again,” said Dr. Barker.”
“Some of these patients’ vision was profoundly impaired before they came to see us. They could no longer see well enough to cook for themselves or work or take care of themselves at all. Many of them had to be led into the clinic by a family member. The people we served were so gracious and thankful for the care we were able to give them during our stay. It’s such an awesome feeling to be able to change someone’s life forever!”
Dr. Barker was joined on the trip by Mann Eye Institute optometrist Dr. Mintra Sattam and ophthalmic surgical technician Denise Lindgren.
You can also view more at the video as featured on “We are Austin.”