Keeler Donates Ophthalmic Equipment to Charitable Belize Mission
Binocular indirect ophthalmoscope and portable slit lamp used at clinic to screen nearly 1000 patients
Donated equipment from Keeler’s US business was recently used by a team from the New England College of Optometry (NECO) during a charitable mission trip to the Stann Creek District in South-eastern Belize. Members of NECO’s Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO) partnered with His Servants Ministries to provide eye care in this desperately underserved region.
Headed up by Lee Peplinski and Nathaniel Pelsor, the team of 13 NECO students, plus a support staff of three, spent five days conducting exams, dispensing medications, providing protective and prescriptive eyewear and referring patients for follow up care. A key aim of the mission is to establish a sustainable eye care system to provide sight-preserving early intervention and ongoing follow- up treatment.
The team saw 745 patients for comprehensive eye exams. Most were provided with readers, safety goggles, artificial tears, glaucoma, allergy or other topical medications, or custom prescription lenses using donated blank frames. One hundred were referred for additional treatment or surgical intervention. In addition, the team administered comprehensive vision screenings to over 200 students, setting them up for academic success unhindered by vision impairment. All told, the team provided eye care to nearly 1000 people.
“Many of the patients we see have undiagnosed or poorly controlled systemic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and other vascular diseases,” explains Jessica Hahm, the 2016 Belize Team Leader. “Therefore, dilated eye exams are all the more important for our patient population. Without the Keeler Vantage Plus BIO, it would have been impossible for us to conduct dilated fundus examinations. The optics allowed us to easily obtain clear views of the periphery and posterior pole of the retina, cutting down on our exam time and allowing us to diagnose diseases and conditions with greater accuracy.
“The Keeler PSL portable slit lamp also allowed us to check the anterior segment of the eyes, and to assess whether or not it was safe to dilate patients,” added Jessica. “The slit lamps were crucial in helping us see the microscopic details of the cornea to get a proper diagnosis.”
With LED illumination and wireless designs, the Vantage Plus and PSL are particularly well suited to clinic and mission work. The LEDs consume very little power, meaning a long battery life. Being wireless also makes it easy to move quickly from patient to patient.
“We’re happy to support the students and doctors doing this important charitable work,” says Laura Haverley, Keeler’s Sales and Marketing Manager. “Eye care and preventing vision loss are critical to overall health and quality of life.”