Guerrero Clinic-Chihuahua, Mexico
“One patient I will never forget was a petite elderly woman who had suffered through 21 years of a physically abusive marriage. One eye had irreversible blindness, and her only good eye that she depended on eventually developed a dense cataract. She was completely blind in both eyes and lived alone. Her neighbors brought her into the clinic as her ability to care for herself was declining. When I examined her the day after her cataract surgery, I asked how she was doing. She looked at me and said “Doctor, I can see you now, you are beautiful”, and broke down into tears. I hugged her tightly as we both wept together. She expressed how incredibly grateful she was for the clinic in helping unfortunate people like herself. She was grateful for all of the volunteers, nurses, and doctors who helped her to regain her life back. She can now care for herself and live a more independent life. I told her that people like her are the reason I return to the clinic.
Every year, Dr. Pian travels with a team of volunteers to The Guerrero Surgery and Education Center, located in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.
The clinic provides free eye examinations, cataract surgeries and eyeglasses to the underserved and poorest populations in Mexico, those who do not have the means to afford or find care for themselves. The clinic depends on volunteers and donations which make it possible for those in need to receive life-changing cataract surgeries, medications, and prescription eyeglasses.
Being able to volunteer at this clinic and joining the Guerrero family has been the highlight of my career as an optometrist. Being able to give back is the most beautiful, meaningful and humbling experience. It is always a reminder to put service above self, and why I entered this profession to begin with.”
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Imagine the fear, loneliness and despair when you lose one of your most valued senses. Not only does it rob the joy from one's life, but it takes away the ability for one to take care of themselves and their family. They lose their independence, their jobs, and the depression affects the entire family. While cataracts are mostly seen in the elderly population, all ages can be affected by cataracts. My youngest patient at the last clinic was 12 years old.
The Guerrero Clinic provides free eyecare (eye examinations, surgical treatment for cataracts/retina, and eyeglasses) to the poorest populations in Mexico, those who have no means or ability to help themselves. Many of these patients travel long distances and wait long hours/days just to be examined. Most do not understand why they have lost their vision and do not know if they can be helped. When the bandages are taken off the day after surgery, to witness patients able to see their grandchildren for the first time, or their own child for the first time, is truly life-changing.