Strange but true. The whole country of Belize has zero ophthalmologists on the “public” side of their health system to care for the indigent. They rely 100% on foreign volunteers. I had the privilege, along with Dr. Priya Sharma and Nurse Annice Bascik, to do cataract surgery to help these people. About $250,000 of supplies were brought down and donated as well. Support came from Dr. Brad Feldman and Dr. Sarah Kuchar of Wills Eye, Surgical Eye Expeditions, Alcon and Allergan.
Dr. Michael Wong providing indigent care in Belize City, assisted by Nurse Annice Bacsik. Annice has been assisting Dr. Wong in eye surgery for over 33 years.
The team, who worked diligently from 7 in the morning to 9 at night: Frank, Dr. Sharma, Dr. Wong (back); Caroline, Leolyn, Annice (middle); Ifile (front). Frank, Caroline, Leolyn and Ifile are native workers for the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired.
Annice Bacsik handing Dr. Wong antibiotic medicine prior to injection.
Dr. Michael Wong examining a patient in preparation for cataract surgery.
“This is why we do it.” A patient forever grateful for his new eyes, with Drs. Wong and Priya Sharma.
Dr. Priya Sharma, a resident from Wills Eye Hospital who learned the manual cataract surgery techniques from Dr. Wong on this mission, examining a patient post-operatively.