A nexus of curiosities about the eye, interesting patient stories, advances in eye care, discoveries in eye research, and adventures in outreach…

Visit to the Navajo Nation

Created on: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

About 10 days ago I went to the Navajo Nation in Southern Utah in the Four Corners region of the country. Approximately 300,000 people live on the reservation, but there is no ophthalmologist there. Hence, there is a huge number of patients with cataracts, pterygium, diabetic eye disease, and other advanced conditions. Moran Eye Center's outreach division has committed to visiting monthly on weekend day trips to the reservation. This was my second trip, and on Friday, we performed cataract and pterygium surgeries, and Saturday, we as a team saw 120 patients to screen for patients needing surgery, and then went on house calls to all of our postop patients.  The reservation is large and transportation is difficult for many patients. It was actually nice to see the conditions and objects (e.g., open fireplaces) in patients' homes which they interact with on a daily basis to provide better counseling on protecting their eye after surgery. It was very sad to see many homes without running water or electricity, even in 21st century America.  Restoring vision is but one piece of the challenges and barriers these patients face, but hopefully by opening this window, they can uplift themselves over time, and children who would otherwise take care of blind parents or grandparents can go to school or work, and the great hurdles they face can be navigated and surmounted one by one.  

Monument Valley 

A photo of me loading a lens for a cataract patient  

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