In addition to working at UAB, Parker Cornea employees enjoy bringing vision to patients in other countries. They have particularly enjoyed the nine years they’ve worked in Nicaragua with FOR Nicaraguan Health – a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is “to bring medical aid to the great numbers of impoverished people in Nicaragua who have limited access to health care, sharing medical techniques with our local counterparts.”
Eye problems in Nicaragua are common and due in great part to a lack of resources. Parker Cornea staff members, along with many others, volunteer their time and expertise to restore sight wherever possible, free of charge. “We do corneal surgery and cataract operations in Nicaragua and Ecuador,” Dr. Parker said. “I am proud that our team first brought modern corneal transplant surgery to both countries.”
Additionally, FOR Nicaraguan Health strives to bring updated medical equipment and supplies to the local medical professionals. “In addition to advance shipping many thousands of dollars’ worth of supplies, we bring many suitcases full of instruments, disposables and moveable equipment,” Dr. Parker explained.
In 2014, FOR Nicaraguan Health doctors saw more than 200 patients and performed 57 surgeries to improve or restore sight. Of those 57 surgeries, Dr. Parker performed 17. “It’s very exciting to be able to help my neediest patients with the latest DMEK, DALK and phacoemulsification surgeries,” he said. “These newer techniques are even more significant outside of the U.S. where equipment, medications and follow up are much more problematic.”
Dr. Parker reflected on his time in Nicaragua saying, “One of the high points of our trip is seeing patients who have been operated on in past years. Because I do corneal transplants, many of my patients return for some years after surgery and it’s always a thrill to see and hear how they have managed.” Dr. Parker and the rest of the FOR Nicaraguan Health team look forward to many more years of service in Nicaragua.
To learn more about FOR Nicaraguan Health, read reports and view pictures, please visit their website.
“The purpose of this letter is to express our immense gratitude and thanks for taking your valuable time on this very important work for us, because we are people with very low incomes and live in a very remote area.”