Holding two large duffel bags full of surgical supplies, Christine Martinez, MD stepped onto a plane headed to the Dominican Republic. She was met by Dr. Carlos Gomez, a physician with more than 30 years’ experience, who leads Cataract and Anterior Segment Surgery at Elías Santana Hospital in Santo Domingo.
Supplies were donated by Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International and Alcon. Surgery was performed using a technique called manual small-incision cataract surgery (MSICS), commonly employed in resource-limited settings because it does not require the expensive machine normally used in cataract surgery to emulsify the eye's internal lens using an ultrasonic probe and aspiration. Dr. Martinez observed Dr. Gomez perform several procedures, gradually began to participate and master the scleral tunnel incision, and then, by the end of the second surgery, was able to perform ten MSICS surgeries independently.
“We traveled two hours from the capital to a small mountain town called Cotui and performed 32 cataract surgeries in two days.” said Dr. Martinez
Dr. Martinez described this trip as an incredible training experience with direct benefits for patients in Cotui. She looks forward to use her new MSICS skills and experience to help restore vision loss from cataract and educate local providers in global communities in the future.