Corneal Transplant Brigade Transforms Lives in Western Honduras

In a collaborative initiative, CAMO, the Robles Ophthalmology Center and a team of doctors from the University of San Francisco, conducted a successful corneal transplant brigade.

Under the leadership of specialist Laura Ponce, counterpart of CAMO’s Ophthalmology Program, this brigade restored sight to seven patients with severe corneal conditions at our clinics.

Doctors Jay Stewart, Jeremy Keenan, and Julie Schallhorn from the University of San Francisco arrived in Honduras to carry out the transplant brigade. They also participated in a Medical Brigade in San Agustín, Copán, and an Evaluation Brigade at a school alongside four students from the same university.

Thanks to their efforts, corneas were obtained from an eye bank in the United States, a resource that Honduras lacks.

Dr. Ponce emphasized the importance of these donations for patients who would otherwise not have access to this type of surgery, which significantly improves their quality of life.

“We conducted evaluations to determine the eligibility of the patients. Most suffered from corneal ulcers or scars that had severely deteriorated their vision. We also treated cases of keratoconus and corneal dystrophies.”

One of the most urgent cases was that of a deaf-mute patient with a perforated corneal ulcer, whose surgery was performed as an emergency. “This patient relies heavily on his vision for communication and social development,” Ponce noted.

The expert ophthalmologist highlighted the economic challenges faced by patients, stating, “A cornea costs approximately $4,000 in the United States, which is unaffordable for most of our patients. We depend on donations to perform these surgeries.”

Drs. Schallhorn and Stewart had previously visited the ophthalmology center and expressed their interest in continuing their alliance with CAMO

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