Academy works with partners on Haiti recovery efforts
SAN FRANCISCO – The American Academy of Ophthalmology's (Academy) Task Force on Haiti Recovery, in cooperation with the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO), is coordinating donation and distribution of ophthalmic equipment and supplies to Haitian ophthalmologists, including several exam lanes (complete sets of the equipment needed to provide a thorough eye exam)*, thousands of doses of pharmaceuticals, surgical supplies, educational materials and much more. View a complete list of all in-kind donations as a result of the efforts of the task force.
This outpouring of support by the international ophthalmic community came in response to the Academy's initial campaign to provide five portable eye units to Haiti. In total, the campaign solicited in-kind donations valued at over one half million U.S. dollars.
To facilitate donations, the task force worked closely with PAAO and the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Haitian ophthalmic leadership–the Haitian Society of Ophthalmology and the University of Haiti Eye Hospital–is collaborating with the Academy on distribution of the eye units and other materials.
"As a result of the earthquake, many of our colleagues were left without the equipment and structure they needed to provide quality patient care," said David W. Parke II, MD, the Academy's executive vice president and CEO." I am proud of the ophthalmic community's overwhelming response in this time of great need and of the Academy's role in the collaborative effort to rebuild Haiti's eye care system."
Haitian ophthalmologists told of practices destroyed, shortages of supplies and equipment, and increased demand for ophthalmic care. The Academy's Task Force on Haiti Recovery was created to respond to the urgent and ongoing need for quality eye care in Haiti and to coordinate ophthalmic recovery efforts.
"We are extremely satisfied with our partnership and look forward to continued productivity and collaboration throughout our joint efforts yet to come," said Frantz Large, MD, president of the Haitian Society of Ophthalmology.
"The Academy's efforts have been consistent since the disaster," said Michael W. Brennan, MD, chair of the Task Force on the Haiti Recovery. "From the immediate response and evaluation of needs to the subsequent facilitation and solicitation of supplies, we are proud to have been able to aid our colleagues in this trying time."
In addition to the portable eye unit campaign, the Foundation of the Academy established a Disaster Relief Fund to provide ophthalmic resources and facilitate much-needed patient care. All of the funds collected will be used for Haitian recovery efforts.
*A complete lane includes an exam chair; a slit lamp, to magnify the eye; a tonometer, to test the pressure inside of the eye; a projector, to check vision; a phoropter, to determine vision correction prescriptions; and an indirect ophthalmoscope, for examination of the retina at the back of the eye.
About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
AAO is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons—Eye M.D.s—with more than 29,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three “O’s” – opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit the Academy's Web site at www.aao.org.