March 25, 2018

I am pleased to announce that Sight is a Right has recently completed our inaugural mission in the community of Zorritos, Peru. The project was a huge success. Our incredible, dedicated, hard-working team was able to serve 1992 Peruvians during just 4 days of clinic. This area of Peru has never had a team of eye care professionals serve in their community in anyone’s memory – thus this was an important event for Zorritos and the need for our services is great.

The team met in Lima and was flown to Tumbes (and back to Lima) on a Peruvian Navy plane, generously donated by the country of Peru. It was a treat for all of us to have our own plane, sitting in jump seats, and taking turns in the cockpit with the pilots.

We stayed at a beautiful resort, named Palo Santo, located on a gorgeous beach on the Pacific Ocean. Our lovely host Lutie Fox generously donated our rooms and gave us exclusive access to the property during our stay.

While the clinic facility (auditorium) was not air-conditioned and quite hot, the team served valiantly from Monday to Thursday with a short break for lunch, serving large crowds each day.

All of our supplies had to be hand carried into Peru by the team, which reduced the amount of glasses we could bring. We had no prescription glasses due to this limitation. Instead we brought over 800 pairs of frames. Patients that required prescription glasses were fitted with frames and their glasses will be made in the United States and returned to them in June of this year.

Incredibly, 29% of our patients require prescription glasses. 576 pair will be fabricated and donated thanks to the incredible generosity of Michael Walach and Quest Vision Care Specialty Lab, Dr. Kathryn Ward and Penobscot Eye Care, and others to be determined.

Besides the 800 frames, the team brought 2000 reading glasses and 2000 sunglasses. We also carried all the optical tools of the trade, support materials, and nursing supplies to perform health screening for blood pressure and blood sugar.

Ultraviolet rays cause serious damage to the eyes. The area where we served is located 3.6 degrees south of the equator and sunglasses are seldom worn by the populace. The incidence of cataract and pterygium, both caused by UV light, is epidemic in this region. For protection, all patients received a pair of 100% UV protection sunglasses.

Our optometrists discovered many different ocular pathologies. It is estimated that a majority of those patients examined over 40 years old had cataracts and/or pterygium. Pterygium were also common, as well as signs of excessive sun exposure to the eyes for those evaluated under 40. It was estimated that 75% of those over 40 had pterygium and approximately 40% of patients over 40 had pterygium that was causing constant ocular irritation and/or obscuring vision or astigmatic vision problems. Similar numbers were also discovered with the incidence of cataracts. It is estimated that approximately 60% of those over 40 had cataracts that would disrupt normal daily activities and that 30% had cataracts that would be considered significant enough to prevent them from obtaining automobile licensure in the United States. Roughly 5% of those over 40 exhibited signs of glaucoma. Glaucoma was almost non-existent in those under 25.

Our plan is to provide cataract surgery on a future visit. This would include the donation of a Phaco system and surgical training for the local ophthalmologists.

Our two nurses performed approximately 600 blood pressure and glucose level screenings. Of those screened, nearly 20% were identified as having either mild to moderate hypertension and/or hyperglycemia, and roughly 10% were found to have severe, life-threatening  hypertension (>180/110) and/or hyperglycemia (> 400mg/dL). Individuals with elevated blood pressure or glucose levels were provided verbal and written education on the specific disease process, its impact on eye health, visual function, and quality of life, as well as, referred to appropriate, local healthcare providers for further evaluation or immediate care.

The metrics for the Sight is a Right Peru 2018 project are as follows:

  • Clinic location in Zorritos – Tumbes, Peru
  • 4 days of clinic from March 5 to March 8, 2018
  • 27 volunteers from the United States and Canada:
    • 7 optometrists, 8 opticians, 2 RNs, and 10 support
  • 1992 vision exams in clinic
  • 576 pairs of prescription glasses to be fabricated for patients
    • ~29% of patients require prescription glasses
  • Distributed 2000 pair of sunglasses (will add 500 in June)
  • Distributed 1700 pair of reading glasses
  • Hundreds of referrals for additional treatment
  • Over 600 blood pressure / blood sugar screenings
  • Value of Goods and Services: over ~US$457,000 delivered
    • ~US$8.72 value for every project dollar spent (input)
    • Only ~3% (total overhead) for goods and services delivered (output)

This work could not be accomplished without the tremendous support of our sponsors and supporters. Thank you to Lutie Fox and Palo Santo Beach Club (Bonanza-Zorritos), Michael and Louie Walach and Quest Vision Care Specialty Lab, Karl Ward and NICKERSON & O’DAY, INC., Mark Sachs and Restoring Vision, Northwest LERC, National Vision, Dr. Kathryn Ward and Penobscot Eye Care, Dr. Steve Miller and Authier Miller Pape Eye Care Consultants, Gabriela Aguilar, VOSH Colorado, Tom Hicks and Oxford Optician, Drs. Travis and Jenna Ziggler and Eye Love Cares Foundation, Sara Leary and Image Wear, Kim Maciejewski and Clemon Eye, Sherry Phillips, Leon and Robyn Andris, Anne and Rich Holmes, Christof and Janne Dreyer, Cheryl Goldberg, Imad Abi-Saleh and Laura Cooley, Jonathan Brownell, Beverly Krasner, David Bentham, John Sinno, Huyen Pham, Consul Miguel A. Velásquez, Dr. Monica de Baca, Hector Chejfec, and everyone else working behind the scenes.

Also huge thanks to all of our other local sponsors including Prefecto Leonardo Rafael Eras Infante, Super-Prefecto Alejandro and Lieutenant Governor Wilson Rumiche Fiestas, Subprefectura de Contralmirante Villar Zorritos, Prefectura Tumbes, Municipalidad de Contralmirante Villar, Gobierno Regional, Agua de mesa D´CLAS, BPZ Energy, Upland Oil & Gas, and Radio Fórmula 100.9 FM.

Special thanks to the Board of Sight is a Right: Dr. Kathy Ward, Dr. Dan Brown, Mary Seguti, Teresa Contreras, and Jason Forbes.

And finally, deep, heartfelt gratitude to all of our Peru mission volunteers who travelled far, supported our work, and worked tirelessly through thick and thin to serve a grateful and deserving community: Dr. Gary Knowles, Dr. Rose Knowles, Dr. Kathryn Ward, Dr. Steven Miller, Dr. Kent Godfrey, Dr. Kara Fedders, Dr. Kate Henning, Sherry Phillips, Lisa Greene, Yvonne Pelkey, Scott Fedders, Heather Klatt, Heather McArthur, Liz Ashworth, Karl Ward, Michael Walach, Louis Walach, Mark Sachs, Carolyn Brecht, Susan Hunter, Nick Carpentier, Amy Miller, Matt Miller, BJ Pratum, Neva Wiederspohn, and Cynthia Friedman. You are truly my heroes and I love you all for your inspirational, selfless service to others.

Sight is a Right looks forward to serving many more communities in the years to come.

Blessings and thank you,

Steven Stern

President / Executive Director