AMIGOS' Trip Delivered Eye Care To Underserved Parts of Costa Rica
Pura Vida! From March 23-30, a team of eight students along with Dr. Kundart, Dr. Kautz, and Dr. Closson and her son traveled to Puntarenas, Costa Rica to deliver eye care to the underserved populations of the coastal city. We were able to arrange four clinic days with Jean Carlo and his associate José from the Children's Well Being Foundation.
Our first two clinic days were located at a local school. We saw a wide range of patients from 4 months old (adorable but a challenging retinoscopy) to 80 years old! Over these first two days, we were able to examine 400 patients, dispense tons of glasses and sunglasses, and bring smiles to many.
On our third clinic day, we traveled an hour and a half to Chomes, located in a drier and dustier climate. We set up in a community roller skating rink and were able to serve 140 patients. Both Puntarenas and Chomes have significantly warmer climates when compared to the capital city of San Jose, which is located at a higher elevation. We attributed the hotter and dustier climates to the pervasive occurrences of pterygia in the vast majority of older patients.
For our last clinic day, we converted the garage of the hostel we were staying at into a makeshift clinic and examined another 110 patients. Overall, we were able to dilate 70 percent of patients and saw various stages of macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, old foreign bodies, nystagmus and surgery mishaps. We referred the cases we could to local healthcare providers.
When we weren't seeing patients in clinic, the group enjoyed the close beach access, as well as visited an animal sanctuary where we saw a whole slew of animals including macaws, ocelots, leopards, and the cutest sloths.