In honor of Cataract Awareness Month this June, Jonas Global Fellow Beth Mettes, RN, BSN, discusses her work in the Dominican Republic. Beth traveled to the Dominican Republic with the University of Missouri to support underserved communities to work on hypertension prevention/screening/treatment. Read Beth’s reflection below to learn more about this inspiring trip:
The Foundacion Enciende una Luz (Light a Candle Foundation) is doing excellent work providing much needed healthcare services to the underserved population of the bateyes in the Dominican Republic, particularly to prevent, diagnose and treat hypertension through home visits to check blood pressure and provide refills of antihypertensive medications. As part of this work, it was identified that many of the bateyes population are suffering from cataracts, and that education on this topic should be integrated into the hypertension program. Now, after having blood pressure monitored and receiving their refills, individuals participating in this program are shown an educational display with facts regarding cataracts and the importance of wearing sunglasses for protection, and are given a pair of sunglasses to take home.
The pre-educational questions identified that, overall, people in the bateyes have heard the word cataract, but didn’t know what it meant. Even people who were visibly affected didn’t realize they were experiencing a cataract. The education provided them much insight as they had no idea that they should be protecting their eyes. I’m honored to be part of providing something as simple as a pair of sunglasses that is going to prevent eye deterioration and potential loss of sight this community.
To learn more about the information presented to the community please refer to the below references:
American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2017). Who is at risk for cataracts? [website]. Retrieved from https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/cataracts-risk
American Optometric Association. (2017). Cataract [website]. Retrieved from https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/cataract?sso=y
Jacobs, D.S , Trobe, J. Libman, H. (2017). UpToDate: Cataract in adults [website]. Retrieved from
National Eye Institute. (2015). Facts about cataract [website]. Retrieved from https://nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts
Mayo Clinic. (2017). Cataract [website]. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cataracts/symptoms-causes/dxc-20215129