Eye for an Eye: Virginia Beach Eye Center’s Sight-Saving Mission
Ophthalmologist and founder of Virginia Beach Eye Center, Dr. Samuel Garrett has spent the past 25 years dedicating his practice and talents to medical missionary work. His travels to Mombasa, Kenya in 2011 and 2013 to perform sight-saving surgeries, inspired him to start a new mission here at Virginia Beach Eye Center. The “Eye for an Eye” cataract mission provides people in developing countries the much needed supplies for cataract surgery. The phrase is literally an Eye for an Eye- for every cataract surgery performed here at Virginia Beach Eye Center; we will donate $20 to cover the cost of all materials needed to perform manual small incision cataract surgery in a third world country. In the United States several hundred dollars worth of disposable supplies and medication are needed for cataract surgery. However, in developing countries 20 dollars can buy all the supplies and medications necessary to perform a simple manual cataract extraction.
In developing countries like Africa, 50% of avoidable blindness is caused by cataracts. In fact, it is estimated that 20 million people world-wide are blind from cataracts. Cataracts, easily treated here in the United States, pose a huge threat to those in developing countries where surgical services and supplies are inadequate. In the third world, cataract is a fatal disease with patients dying more than 10 years earlier than those cured with cataracts. By donating these cataract surgery eye kits, medical practitioners will be provided all the surgical tools needed to perform this sight-saving surgery. The kits will include all pre-operative drops, irrigating fluid, lens implant, eye drapes and shields, intraocular injections, and all post-operative drops needed after surgery.
“I use to think I could stay right here at home and because I was helping people; that was enough. I don’t think that anymore” says Dr. Garrett. Donating funds through “Eye for an Eye” will allow Dr. Garrett to have a continual impact on patients in developing countries who suffer from cataracts. Patients having surgery here at Virginia Beach Eye Center will also have the opportunity to participate by donating funds to the program directly for the patient’s second eye surgery.
Virginia Beach Eye Center continues to partner with Lighthouse for Christ, a non-denominational charity eye center and mission dedicated to curing physical and spiritual blindness to people in Kenya, Africa. More than 30,000 patients are seen each year at the Lighthouse for Christ Eye Center and in their Mobile Eye Camps. The cataract kits will be donated to Lighthouse for Christ, in hopes to help preventable blindness in Africa.
** Dr. Garrett is currently the President of the U.S. Board of Directors for Lighthouse for Christ Mission and is very excited to continue being an integral part of the leadership team. He will return to Mombasa,Kenya in the summer of 2016 with Virginia Beach Eye Center staff members to serve at Lighthouse and continue this sight-saving mission. Stay tuned for updates as the team heads south! **
You do not have to be a patient to get involved! For anyone that is interested in helping support “Eye for an Eye” or our upcoming mission trip, please call or stop by our office and ask how you can help give the gift of sight to a patient in need. For more information about Lighthouse for Christ visit www.lighthouseforchrist.org.
To see photos from Dr. Garrett’s past mission trips to Kenya CLICK HERE