A special thank you to Dr. Francine Lavallée, optometrist and, Catherine Rioux, General Director of IRIS Mundial, for their contribution to this blog post.

Last October, the IRIS Mundial team travelled to the Cañete region of Peru to provide eye care to the community. The project was a great success! An exploratory mission, which was held last February, showed that the needs within the region were high. More than 250,000 people live in this desert and arid area, many in precarious conditions, without drinking water or electricity. Health services are scarce and the disadvantaged do not have access to vision care.

IRIS Mundial is very proud of the tremendous work done by the dynamic team of 38 volunteers consisting of ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, assistants, nurses, translators and a doctor, with the support of local volunteers. Located in the premises of the local polyclinic, they quickly saw the magnitude of the challenge. A large crowd was waiting for the team each morning, some having spent the night waiting... The cases of visual impairments and disabilities were numerous, far beyond what they had imagined: cataracts, pterygium and several very rare pathologies.

Thanks to the hard work of the volunteers, 2,085 of the most disadvantaged patients were able to obtain an eye exam. Medication and/or prescription glasses were given to those who needed them. All the patients examined received sunglasses. During this mission, about thirty of them had the chance to be operated for cataracts or pterygiums thanks to the collaboration of the Peruvian professionals from the OphtalmoSalud Clinic.

This one-time IRIS Mundial project has improved or rendered vision to hundreds of people, and thus greatly improving their quality of life. It will also have helped to raise the population’s awareness of vision problems. The data collected will provide information on ophthalmic care needs within the intervention area and serve as a basis for the development of a new permanent program, based on the existing IRIS Mundial model in Haiti. This program could provide vulnerable people within the region with a full-service, low-cost, year-round eye care service.

To better understand the impact and the concrete role of IRIS Mundial during missions abroad, watch the video of their last mission in Peru: