Friday's Vision Harvest went off without a hitch. 24 people were able to have their vision improved with free cataract surgery. These patients all suffered with cataracts, but were unable to seek the treatment they needed, as they had no insurance nor the means to pay for their cataract surgery.
I continue to be moved by so many of the stories I have heard since founding Vision Harvest last year. I am also amazed at how far people have traveled to receive the surgery they so desperately need; last year from as far away as Indiana, this year, Tennessee! It is so hard to believe there are so many people in need of medical care in our own country..
Here is a breakdown of this year's patients:
- Most of these patients were relatively young to have visually significant cataracts. They ranged in age from 27 to 78, averaging 58.
- 6 were employed, 1 was a student, and 17 were unemployed
- Geographically, 19 were from New Jersey, 1 from New York, 1 from Connecticut, 1 from Maryland, 1 from Virginia, and 1 from Tennessee. Several of those from NJ were actually visiting family members from India, Philippines, and Western Africa.
Getting drops prior to surgery.
Three patients had to be cancelled because they failed their free medical clearance which was performed on the day of surgery. This points to another glaring problem, not only can't these people afford cataract surgery, they can't afford to take care of themselves, medically. We will be referring them to an area clinic, and once stable, perform their cataract surgery at a later date.
I have downloaded many more pictures of the day's event onto flickr for your enjoyment.
Ilene and Jackson congratulated by me for winning dinners at Serenade Restaurant.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those responsible for making Vision Harvest 2010 possible:
- Keri Muli, Administrator, Barbara Kociuba, Refractive Surgery Coordinator, and the entire staff of OCLI for helping to organize and implement the program.
- Nancy Lord, Administrator, Hadley Phillips, Medical Director, all the physician-owners, and the entire staff of River Drive Surgery Center for allowing us to treat these patients at the center free of charge.
- Dr. Jay Tendler and Dr. Aruna Desai for providing free anesthesia to our patients.
- Dr. Enas Tupo for providing free medical clearance to our patients.
- Including me, the following surgeons provided free cataract surgery:
Dr. Michael Farbowitz
Dr. Ken Miller
Dr. Scott Pomerantz
Dr. Nahndi Williams
Setting up microscope for surgery.
- The following doctors will be providing post op management of these patients free of charge:
Dr. Phillip Eichler of Eye Institute of Essex
Dr. Steven A Koenig of Nashville, Tennessee
Dr. Earl Kidwell of Parkville, Maryland
Dr. Nichilas Xanthos of OCLI
- Gene Maresca and Steve Kramaritsch of Alcon Labs for supplying surgical packs, implants, and post op drops.
- Sarah MacKay of Bausch & Lomb for supplying post op drops and bags, and providing lunch for the staff on the surgery day.
- Pat Tobia of Hoya for supplying implants.
- Greg Cardone of Ista for providing post op drops.
- Mary Ann Hogue of MST for supplying surgical supplies.
We plan on continuing Vision Harvest again next year. I have already received several inquiries from needy patients, and have begun a new list for next year's event. If you, or someone you know is in need, please call our hotline at
Other people have asked what they can do to help. It is important to spread the word. Please join our facebook fan page and share it with your friends. Finally, I need to mention that although many people have volunteered their time and resources, Vision Harvest is NOT run without costs. We can certainly use financial support to keep thing growing in the future. Money raised will help defray hard costs, such as surgical center staffing, equipment, and supplies not donated by suppliers. We are currently in the process of applying for non-profit status, and therefore this cannot be considered a tax deductable donation at this time. If you are so inclined, please support our efforts! I thank you, and our patients thank you as well!!