Eye Care Program for the Remote Islands

Eye Care Program Corporate Sponsors:

Scenic Hotels
Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation
Karmoie

In 2013, Sea Mercy's Eye Care Program consisted of delivering free reading glasses and sunglasses to the remote islands that we visited. Although there was a desperate need for reading glasses for the adult and schoolchildren population, we did not have a solution for the near-sighted vision issues. The only option available was to bring a full ophthalmology team, supplies and equipment to the remote islands for evaluation and treatment.

This all changed in November of 2013 with the discovery, and ultimately the partnership, with an England based company called Eyejusters. Their adjustable Slidelens2 technology glasses would give Sea Mercy's visiting health care clinics the ability to evaluate and treat the majority of the near-sighted issues on every remote island we visit (without the need of a full eye care team and their equipment). Our eye care program director (see below) tested the glasses and fully embraced the opportunities and impact that they would provide. The only thing missing, was finding a corporate sponsor who had the same heart for the remote islands people. Scenic Hotels quickly stepped up to meet that need and now we have over 750 Eyejusters near-sighted glasses to add to our reader program. In addition, Karmoie sun glass company has a "give and get" program with Eyejusters' and will be adding additional Eyejusters glasses to support Sea Mercy's remote island efforts.

As a result, every child who is learning challenged and disadvantaged from with near-sighted issues at school or home, will now be able to see the chalkboard clearly and participate in all activities of life. Adults, who suffer from near-sighted issues during work or productive activities at home, will now also have the ability to see clearly and participate in all activities of life.

Program Director:

Dr. Royce Fonken, MD (Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Advanced Cataract Surgery) and his lovely wife Loriana have taken on the design, implementation and leadership role for the Sea Mercy Eye Care Program in the South Pacific. With their deep knowledge and experience in the field of Ophthalmology for Third World Nations, they tested the Eyejusters Slidelens2 glasses for use in our eye care program. As a result, and with the integration of the Reading and Sun Glasses provided by the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation, they have incorporated the Eyejusters Program (glasses) discussed in this overview.

They are also developing our ongoing Eye Care program for evaluation, scheduling of treatment and surgical services that will help meet the unique and comprehensive vision needs of the remote islanders that Sea Mercy visits. Including the following potential services:

  • Cataract Surgery
  • Corneal Disease
  • Pediatric Ophthalmology
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal Disease
  • Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery

The initial focus of the Eyejusters Program in 2015-2018, and with all new island nations added in the future, will be on testing, evaluating and delivering the needed reading and nearsighted glasses (Eyejusters) for the schoolchildren and adults on the remote islands that Sea Mercy visits. The initial phase of the Eye Care program will help determine the "next level" of care for those that are screened that do not see any results from the reading or near-sighted glasses we provide to them. Those will be scheduled for a surgical ophthalmology focused team that will follow-up on the diagnosis, and if applicable, perform the necessary surgical or medical treatments to correct their needs.

Training:

Sea Mercy will select and train one or more volunteers on each rotation who will be the lead Eye Care Program provider. This will include the following steps:

  • Insure the priority of care treatment is followed (see below)
  • Setup the eye care program center
  • Interact with the remote islanders to determine what the need might be
  • The effective use of eye charts for evaluating patient needs (reading and/or near-sighted)
  • The selection and distribution of the proper glasses (reading or Eyejuster) only when a need is determined and confirmed
  • Patient training on how to use and the proper care of the glasses that are being provided
  • Documenting who received the glasses (name, gender, age, remote island, etc.)
  • Submit all the collected information for ongoing data analysis and informational sharing
  • Insure the storage and security of the glasses (Eyejusters) during island visits is followed

Priority Care:

  1. Remote Islanders (remote islands that do not have access to air or ferry services, or health clinics)
    • School children
    • Adults
  2. Secondary Islanders* (remote islands that have are/ferry and health clinics, but no primary island infrastructure)
    • School children
  3. Primary Islanders**
    • Not applicable since we do not service this area

Evaluation & Treatment Plan Options for 2015-2018:

  1. Visit Schools on remote islands
    • Evaluation of Students (Reading and/or Eyejuster needs)
    • If Eyejusters do not correct nearsighted problems, then complete documentation of condition and patient data for future treatment/surgery visit
  2. Remote Island Sea Mercy Medical Clinics
    • Evaluation of adults (Reading and/or Eyejuster needs)
    • If Eyejusters do not correct nearsighted problems, then complete documentation of condition and patient data for future treatment/surgery visit
    • Provide sun glasses (1 pair per person)
  3. Schools on Primary Remote Islands

Estimated Eye Program target populations:

Kingdom of Tonga

Sea Mercy will only be working in the remote Ha'apai and Vava'u groups

  1. Ha'apai (no detailed population data available for remote islands of Ha'apai)
    • Northern Group (4,500)
      • i. Lifuka*
      • ii. Foa*
      • iii. Ha'ano*
      • iv. 'Uiha
      • v. UolevaLofanga
      • vi. Fotuha'a
      • vii. Niniva
      • viii. Mo'unga'one
      • ix. Ofolanga
    • Central Lulunga Group (1,500)
      • i. Ha'afeva
      • ii. O'ua
      • iii. Tungua
      • iv. Matuka
      • v. Kotu
    • Southern 'Otu mu'omu'a Group (1,500)
      • i. Nomuka
      • ii. Mango
      • iii. Fonoifua
      • iv. Lalona
      • v. Telekitonga
  2. Vava'u (information gathered from Sea Mercy 2013-2015 programs)
    • a. Vava'u (13,500)*
    • b. Felevai (130)
    • c. Hunga (250)
    • d. Kapa (50)
    • e. Matamaka (130)
    • f. Nuapapu (150)
    • g. Ofu (110)
    • h. Olo'ua (90)
    • I. Otea (60)
    • j. Taunga (46)
  3. Tongatapu (80,000+)**

* Secondary Island
** Primary Island

Republic of Fiji

Sea Mercy will be focusing on the remote islands in the Eastern most Lau Group

  1. Lakeba Group (7,129)
    • Lakeba (1,618)*
      • i. Oneata (170)
      • ii. Moce (477)
      • iii. Komo (198)
      • iv. Nayau (241)
      • v. Vanuavatu (178)
    • Kabara (437)*
      • i. Namuka (290)
      • ii. Fulaga (265)
      • iii. Ogea (104)
      • iv. Vatoa (183)
    • Onoilau (401)
      • i. Matuka (623)
      • ii. Totya (492)
    • Moala (1,452)*
  2. Lomaloma Group (3,257)
    • Vanuabalavu (1,456)*
    • i. Tuvuca (168)
    • ii. Naitauba (98)
    • iii. Cikobia (62)
    • iv. Avea (108)
    • v. Susui (70)
    • vi. Namalata (56)
    • vii. Mago (75)
    • viii. Kanacea (6)
    • ix. Nabavatu (5)
    • x. Adavavi (6)
  3. Cicia (1,147)*

* Secondary Island
** Primary Island

Supplies Needed:

Reading Glasses:

We currently have 750 pair ordered through Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation, to be delivered prior to first rotation in April. Additional pairs can be requested as needed for Fiji prior to July rotations.
Estimated total needed per year = 1,500+

Sun Glasses (UV protection):

750 pair ordered through Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation, to be delivered prior to first rotation in April. Additional pairs can be requested as needed for Fiji prior to July rotations.
Estimated total needed per year = 1,500+

Eyejuster Glasses (nearsighted needs):

750 Eyejusters glasses ordered to complete the program preparation.
April-October = Tonga: Ha'apai - 150, Vava'u - 150.
July-October = Fiji: Lau Group - 450.

The above program will successfully carry us through the each year for Tonga and Fiji. We believe the actual needs will drop by 50% or more the following year for Tonga and Fiji.

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