Dr. Stuart Sondheimer and Surgvical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International embarked on a one-week medical mission in early September to Hue, South Vietnam, to provide life-changing vision care to those less fortunate. In countries like Vietnam, access to essential health care is limited to those with means.
A nonprofit, humanitarian organization, Surgical Eye Expeditions International aims to restore sight to disadvantaged blind people around the world using medical, surgical and educational services volunteered by ophthalmic surgeons. Dr. Sondheimer, Dr. Tran and three Vietnamese ophthalmologists performed 113 cataract surgery procedures during the week, correcting the blinding condition their Vietnamese patients would otherwise have been forced to endure. Watch the video here.
In addition to performing cataract surgery, Dr. Sondheimer also lectured about refractive cataract surgery to Vietnamese ophthalmologists and helped them to improve the accuracy of their intraocular lens calculations and their LASIK surgery.
I got involved with SEE after hearing about it from a friend who made a similar trip to Nigeria,” said Dr. Sondheimer, a Chicago-based surgeon. “It’s a unique opportunity to restore sight to people who have been blind.
Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye develops a cloudy obstruction that ranges from slight to completely blinding. Cataract surgery involves an incision in the cornea and removal of the damaged lens, which is then replaced with a new artificial lens known as an intraocular lens (IOL) that improves eyesight. The procedure, which takes approximately 15 minutes to complete, is performed under local anesthesia, according to Dr. Sondheimer. Most patients recover full sight in a matter of days or weeks. Patient follow-up is coordinated by SEE International and provided by local eye doctors.
More than 600 ophthalmologists from 75 countries belong to SEE International’s global network of volunteers, each of whom donates time and professional services to restoring sight worldwide. Up to 130 expeditions are coordinated each year by SEE International.