Hoopes Vision Surgeons on Annual Humanitarian Medical Mission
This week, Hoopes Vision surgeons Phillip C. Hoopes, Jr., MD and Michael J. Bradley, MD are in Honduras, performing sight-saving cataract surgeries on indigent patients. They are part of a team of volunteer surgeons working in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, as part of ECHO Foundation – Eradicating Cataracts Honduras Outreach. This week they will perform hundreds of cataract surgeries free of charge, mostly on patients from poor, rural areas of Honduras.
ECHO Foundation, whose stated goal is to “eradicate cataract blindness in Honduras,” has been performing medical mission trips like this one every year since 1994. This is the tenth such mission trip for Dr. Hoopes Jr., and the sixth for Dr. Bradley. They will perform dozens of cataract surgeries each day, as well as some cornea transplants.
While cataract surgery is considered a safe, routine, and accessible procedure in the United States, cataracts are still the most common cause of preventable blindness in developing countries. In Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the world, an estimated 50,000 people per year go blind from untreated cataracts. The question is one of resources and availability: even with current levels of humanitarian assistance, the Honduran ophthalmologists able to perform surgery are only able to remove a few thousand cataracts per year.
At Hoopes Vision, we are acutely aware of how fortunate we are to live, work, and practice medicine in the United States, and we are also continually aware of those who do not share that good fortune. Our surgeons’ participation in Operation ECHO is one way we remind ourselves of that, while at the same time helping restore the gift of sight to people in need.