Dr. Paveloff and SEE International Restore Vision in Panama
SEE International and Santa Barbara ophthalmologist, Dr. Michael Paveloff, recently returned from the “Panama Mission 2011”, a surgical expedition aimed at restoring vision to disadvantaged people of the country. SEE (Surgical Eye Expeditions) is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization comprised of volunteer ophthalmic surgeons who provide medical, surgical and educational services around the world. Since being founded in 1974, their eye surgeons have examined more than 3 million patients and performed over 384,000 sight restoring procedures.
SEE International is the link that connects clinics that are in desperate need of help alleviating the overwhelming numbers of people living in darkness. They organize the clinics, provide most of the necessary equipment and supplies, and coordinate surgeons who volunteer their time and surgical expertise. SEE’s primary focus is on cataract surgery, which is one of the most cost-effective of all health interventions. A volunteer SEE International surgeon can restore the sight of a person who has been blinded by cataracts for 5, 10 or even 20 years with a local anesthetic and a 30-minute surgery.
The objective of “Panama Mission 2011” was to restore sight to 100 disadvantaged cataract patients in 2 days. The goal was achieved as 105 cataract surgeries were successfully performed.
“Working with SEE International is incredibly rewarding,” stated Dr. Paveloff. “I’m honored to participate in a program that enables so many people regain their vision. We’re ecstatic that we exceeded our goal.”
Blindness is an underlying result of poverty and hunger in developing countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that of the 37 million blind people; 90% live in developing countries, 80% of the cases are avoidable or treatable and 48% are blind because of cataracts.