About My Recent Ophthalmology Mission To Kenya
As many of you know, over the last few years I have become interested in doing an ophthalmology mission trip. A primary reason for this is to use my education and skills to assist those who have limited access to health care, but I also wanted to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. When the opportunity presented itself to participate with a Detroit-based ophthalmology team to serve in Kenya, Africa, I jumped at the chance.
After two 7.5 hour flights and an all-day drive from Nairobi, we arrived at Brittany’s House in Migori. Clinic began Monday morning with a huge line of patients. We spent 3 long days seeing over 500 patients and performing over 100 surgeries, the majority of which were cataract surgeries. Cataracts are the commonest cause of blindness worldwide due to lack of access to health care. The work was the most challenging of my career yet very rewarding.
We were fortunate to be able to restore vision to many patients who were completely blind from cataracts. I also saw many advanced cases of glaucoma, retinal detachments and other diseases where the vision was not easily correctable. These patients left a heaviness in my heart that we could not do more for them. It also served as a reminder of how lucky we are to live here in the USA with so many resources available to us from good nutrition and sanitation to access to medications and health care providers.
I returned home with a renewed spirit, ready to treat all of you with the best technology available. I am so grateful to my colleagues and Kenya Relief to have been given this opportunity. If you would like to learn more about the organization that sponsors the missions, check out www.kenyarelief.org.
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Michelle Akler, MD
Akler Eye Center
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