AMIGOS Provides Eye Care to Communities in Need

Members of AMIGOS

Pacific University students, faculty and alumni are seeing the world — and helping the world see — through AMIGOS Eye Care.

The nonprofit organization affiliated with the Pacific University College of Optometry works to provide quality vision care to underserved populations. This spring, teams of optometry doctors and students, along with lay volunteers, traveled to Peru, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, as well as locally to Fossil, Ore., to provide eye care to those in need.

In Nicaragua, Lidia Bester ’15, OD ‘18 and Jessica Thornton OD ’18, MED/VFL ‘19 led a team of nine students, who served 650 patients, often in isolated rural areas accessible only by boat. While helping patients get eye care screenings and treatment, the team also enjoyed rare access to the rural communities of Bluefields, El Bluff, Pearl Lagoon and Orinoco and visited the Masaya Volcano.

In Peru, Maggie Fuentes OD ‘18 and Nikita Katoozi OD, MED/VFL ‘18 led led a 10-student, two-doctor team to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where they spent five days at the Kausay Wasi Clinic, treating 700 patients in need — and later visiting Macchu Picchu.

And in Costa Rica, Jessica Flack OD, MED/VFL ‘18 and Kimberly Chia OD ‘18, along with a team of nine students and three doctors, partnered with the Children’s Well-Being Foundation to spend four days at a clinic providing care for 769 patients, then attending a local soccer game and ziplining through the jungle.

Here in Oregon, a new AMIGOS team partnered with the OHSU Casey Eye Institute and Pacific’s outreach with the Pacific EyeVan to provide care in Fossil and Hood River. The Pacific EyeVan is a mobile clinic that — thanks to generous donors who helped outfit a brand new RV — now travels with optometry students throughout Oregon and south Washington to provide care to those in need.

The EyeVan operates through the College of Optometry year-round, and AMIGOS is planning several future outreach trips as well, including Tanzania and Cambodia in December and returns to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru and Fossil, Ore., over spring break. To find out how to help on upcoming trips, visit the AMIGOS website.

Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017