Dr. Richard Cross Continues Sight-Saving Efforts in Jamaica -Molly Forke

Dr. Richard Cross Continues Sight-Saving Efforts in Jamaica


Published on Friday, February 01 2013 20:15

Gunbarrel optometrist Dr. Richard Cross is continuing his 17 years of service providing eye care in Jamaica’s rural Hanover Parish. Through his Eye Health Institute, he has provided everything from eye examinations to surgery.

With help from organizations such as American Friends of Jamaica, the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, the Garner Foundation, and American Airlines, over 500 patients were treated. The grants allowed EHI to purchase a portable GDx (a glaucoma diagnosis machine), a surgical microscope and operating table.

The focus of the 2012 trip was on glaucoma. Because of the limited access to eye care in rural areas, many Jamaicans with glaucoma don’t receive treatment until it is too late.

Twenty-two doctors, nurses, surgeons and volunteers examined 516 patients, performed 10 surgeries and dispensed hundreds of prescription and reading glasses.

With support from the Jamaican Ministry of Health, the Grange-Kendal Health Center, and the Noel Holmes Hospital, EHI has established a stable presence in the area. Outfitting the local clinic and hospital reduces the need to travel great distances for ocular procedures.

Cross said, “We are now looking to include optometry schools in the United States and Canada to better serve the local community for a longer time. Our hope is to bring interns in and have them work at their level of training. I believe it is important for them to experience optometry as a global service and their presence will help assure a future for our clinics here. We see a lot of the same patients on a yearly basis who count on us, and we are committed to helping them maintain good vision.”

Donations may be sent to the Eye Health Institute, P.O. Box 11052 Boulder, CO 80301.

Molly Forke graduated Niwot High School in 2009 and is a senior at the University of Tampa where she is majoring in communications and minoring in journalism. In November 2012, Forke traveled with the Eye Health Institute to rural Jamaica to document the mission.