Clinic Blog: 2012 Mexico 2 Clinic Blog
August 29, 2012
Clinic Day 2 - Changed Lives
We saw 885 people today at the clinic. Read below from our guest bloggers today!
Loving everything I’m learning here. This is my first clinic and I can honestly say that my life will be forever changed. Guest blogger Shawn Lewis
Today I helped an older woman who was 77 years old, Maria. I gave her the new glasses she just had received with high prescription (-5,50 on both eyes). She smiled when she tried them on and was very happy that she could see things so clear – she had never had a pair of glasses before. I asked her to look around, and look at the words on a big banner on the wall across the room. I asked if she could read the words for me, but she just turned around again, smiling and said that she could see clear all the different colors. But when I asked her about the letters, she didn’t understand my question. She could not see the letters, because she does not know what the letters look like, she cannot read… But she said that “it is never too late to learn how to read…” – Maria, 77 years old.
Guest Blogger -- Camilla Nielsen.
I have two stories to share today:
This afternoon, I was at the ophthalmoscopy (eye health) station when a young man, about 35 years old, arrived. His vision was very poor - he could not see any of the letters on the eye chart, and could only see your fingers from a metre away. Through my translator, I learned that he had had an accident years ago, and his vision was very bad ever since. Looking in his eyes, the optic nerves (which connect the eyes to the brain) were badly damaged. This level of nerve damage causes permanent, irreversible vision loss, which I had to explain to him through the translator. He asked a number of questions about
treatments or cures, but there is nothing available to fix this in Mexico or anywhere else in the world. I told him we would try to see if some glasses would make some small improvements, but most of his vision was lost forever because of the accident. So of course, I'm at the prescription-writing station maybe thirty minutes later when this man comes through my line. I took a few measurements of his eyes and, rather than writing a serial number for the right pair of glasses and letting someone else find and fit them (as we usually do), I went and found them myself. I explained again that most of his vision loss was from the accident, but my measurements showed that these glasses might make things a tiny bit better. He tried them on, and he agreed -- it wasn't a big difference, but he did notice a small improvement. He was very happy that we took the time today to explain what was wrong and did everything possible to try and help him see better. He smiled and shook my hand -- not the usual reaction when we give people bad news in Canada! It just goes to show that, even though most of the big lifechanging moments we have happen when a new pair of glasses helps someone see a lot better for the first time in a long time, even the little things we do make an impact.
My second story has a happier ending. I used to be very nearsighted -- my prescription was about -6.50 in my better eye until I had laser refractive surgery a couple years ago. For one reason or another, I still had a pair of my old glasses at home, so I brought them along to the clinic. One of the other docs today had a patient whose prescription wasn't really available in the inventory, but was very close to that of my old glasses, so they came and got me. With my translator, I was able to explain that the glasses she was getting were actually mine that I didn't need anymore, and that I was glad she could see better now than with her old (very underpowered) prescription. I adjusted them to fit her face properly, we took some photos together, and now we both have a unique and happy story from the clinic!
Guest Blogger – Dr. Adam Hill