By Rebecca Salowe
Scheie Vision Summer 2017
Last spring, Dr. César Briceño took a mission trip to the southernmost region of Colombia, an area in the Amazon rainforest with poor access to healthcare resources.
He began the trip with attendance at the annual meeting of the Colombian Pediatric Ophthalmology Society, where he gave a lecture on the medical management of infantile hemangiomas.
Over the following days, Dr. Briceño and colleagues provided comprehensive ophthalmic examinations and free glasses to children at local schools. MiraFlex, a company that designs flexible and plastic glasses, donated the frames and lenses. “We discovered a large number of children who are highly myopic and never had glasses before,” said Dr. Briceño. “That’s a big deal in terms of their ability to function well in school.”
Another goal of the trip was to link children with more serious eye conditions, such as strabismus, to the appropriate resources within Colombia. “Colombia does have a national health system, but subspecialty care can be difficult to access in the Amazonian region,” Dr. Briceño explained. “We were able to provide appropriate triage to link patients with more specialized needs to their respective national resources.”
Dr. Briceño is one of many Scheie faculty members who strive to provide eye care internationally.