Dr. Mingrone's 5th Eye Mission in Nicaragua
Dr. Robert P. Mingrone, Optometrist, along with his son, Joe, participated in the 15th annual VOSH-CT mission to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua from January 3rd to 12th. This was Dr. Mingrone's fifth trip. The acronym, VOSH, represents Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity and the VOSH-CT chapter, headquartered here in Connecticut serves the San Juan del Sur area of Nicaragua.
The team consisted of 6 eye doctors from Connecticut, 17 optometric students from both the University of Berkeley and the New England College of Optometry, 2 opticians and a number of translators and ancillary staff from both the U.S. and Nicaragua. Joe worked in the dispensary, dispensing eyeglasses. The doctors and students examined a total of 2696 patients over a 4 day period. Most patients needed eyeglasses for distance, reading or bifocals which were dispensed on site.
People living in Nicaragua are more susceptible to eye diseases such as dry eye, pterygia (a superficial eye inflammation), and cataracts because of its proximity to the Equator where the level of UV radiation is intense. These diseases, along with glaucoma were often detected and those that could be were treated with eyedrops. Sunglasses were also dispensed in order to minimize the risk of these eye conditions. No surgery was performed.
A secondary benefit to the mission was the mentoring of the optometric students. Three students worked side by side with each doctor and were encouraged to ask numerous questions. Dr. Mingrone took every opportunity to teach the 3 students who worked with him in Clinica Tres, and the experience was very rewarding for both the students and doctor.
Dr. Mingrone looks forward to his next mission in January 2014.