Service members and civilians worked together to provide eye exams and glasses to patients in Vietnam during a medical civic action project (MEDCAP) 13 July as part of Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12).
Members from the
Optometry team have performed over 10,300 eye exams, handed out over
11,400 prescription glasses and over 17,300 pairs of sunglasses in
their quest to improve the eye sights of the patients they have seen
Capt. Michael Radoiu is
an optometrist working at the MEDCAPs to help provide care to the
“We are a visual species
so it is important to include Optometry in our medical activities
during PP12,” Radoiu said. “People here use their eyes for reading
and for working both in offices and in the field, so a lot of the
host nation’s economy is reliant on the people being able to see
Patients being seen by
the Optometry team are tested for numerous conditions before
“Our job here is to
screen patients for three things. The first is refractive errors, or
visual problems that we can take care of and treat with glasses,”
Radoiu said. “The second thing we screen for is any kind of acute
eye problems. We are limited because we can’t do any surgery in the
field, but we can do other things such as providing eye drops to
help fight infections.”
Radoiu said the third
thing they screen for is chronic problems.
He said that even though
the Optometry team is unable to treat chronic eye ailments, they do
what they can to educate both the patients and the host nation
providers on preventative treatments.
“We exchange a lot of
information with the host nation doctors,” he said. “We have learned
as much, if not more, from them as they learned from us.”
Another service the
Optometry team provides is the distribution of sunglasses to all of
the patients they see.
Silva works as an optometry technician at PP12’s MEDCAP sites and
has handed out hundreds of pair of sunglasses since arriving in Vinh,
Silva said the
sunglasses aren’t just a cosmetic item, they protect the eyes as
ultraviolet light from hitting the eyes, which is one of the biggest
causes of cataracts in the population here,” he said.
Providing glasses to the
people they treat has another effect the team is very proud of.
Silva said the glasses
he provides are very durable, and one pair can last for five to 10
in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific
Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military, host
and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and
international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and
disaster response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.