The Ophthalmic team’s goal is to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from cataracts, pterygiums, and other vision impairments through life-changing surgeries. Mercy Ships offers adult and pediatric cataract surgeries.

The Mercy Ships Ophthalmic Team will be involved in a number of activities, from eye care advocacy projects in local schools to providing free surgeries onboard. In addition to providing surgeries, Mercy Ships will offer local ophthalmic providers the opportunity to be mentored onboard; although easily removable by a brief, low-cost operation, cataracts are responsible for half of all blindness in Africa. While understanding the value of providing relief to an immediate need, Mercy Ships recognizes the more sustainable impact, which can be achieved by strengthening the local healthcare community through training.

After surgery, the Mercy Ships ophthalmic providers perform follow-up care on the first post-operative day and as needed within the first two weeks. All patients will receive a final post-operative visit at six weeks. During the final visit, providers will measure visual acuity, post-surgical evaluation of the surgery; perform minor procedures such as the YAG capsulotomies, and reiteration of eye health and hygiene. YAG laser capsulotomies for cataract patients is a preventative measure of reducing future clouding of the posterior lens capsule, the leading cause of cloudy vision after successful cataract surgery.

The “Eye Clinic” is based onboard the Global Mercy, and ashore with the Africa Mercy. The team celebrate the restoration of sight with the patients and their caregivers in a special, unforgettable event.

Mercy Ships will also work in select local schools, providing education for students in grades three through five on eye diseases and further provide basic screening for functional vision impairment.  The objective is to identify children at risk for learning problems due to visual disabilities and to provide basic refractive care and referral to local providers.