Jeff Rutgard and Michelle fix cataracts in Celaya, MX. “A win for the poor blind.”
Dr. Jeff Rutgard and Dr. Michelle traveled to Celaya, Mexico where they restored vision to the blind poor. ”These are not the typical cataracts that we see in Hawaii,” Dr. Michelle said upon arriving at the Clinica Beatriz Velasco De Aleman, “These poor are truly blinded by their cataracts.” iDoctor Blog celebrates her contributions.
Dr. Michelle came to learn the MSICS procedure under the auspices of Dr. Rutgard who has taught ophthalmologists from all over the United States and in many developing countries this sutureless, small-incision, cataract surgical procedure that can be performed without the expensive and difficult to transport of Phaco equipment. Automated microscopes are routinely used for cataract surgery, but like Phaco equipment, heavy and bulky.
Dr. Michelle has excellent skills and was very adaptable to this austere ophthalmic surgical environment. Having lived for a month in Guatemala years ago, Dr. Michelle resurrected some of her previously learned Spanish and was able to speak to her patients. Whatever she lacked in Spanish vocabulary, she made up in kindness.
Local Rotarians created a wonderful atmosphere in setting up this project to help the poor. The International and cultural partnership couples the Rotarians with local ophthalmologists. Rotarian Peggy Ritchie hosted the doctors, providing the best of Mexican cuisine and creating an atmosphere of international friendship.
I am Koto Waqa one of the permanent workers of the Fiji Sugar Corporation in Rarawai Mill in Ba, Fiji. I was working for 22 years in this industry. By 2009 I went for a medical check and the medical officer based at Rarawai Mill found out that I had a problem in my left eye so it was also proved by an eye specialist here in Ba that I had a cataract in my left eye. By that time I had experienced a blurred vision in my eye. So I was laid off from my job as a fitter machinist on March of this year under medical grounds.
The blind see again. Praise the Lord!
Losing my job really brings problems to my whole family. I was left without job for nine months. But there was only one who gave me strength, that is God, who show me the path to follow that is where I met Nurse Ana Nariu at the Nailaga Health Center in Ba, who saw me and asked if I had a cataract in my eye. I said yes and I really need help! So, the nurse said that she’s going to help me by making an arrangement for a trip to Taveuni to meet Dr. Jeff Rutgard and the hard working eye team so that I could have eye surgery.
I want to thank God for giving me strength. Now my vision is back to normal, in fact it is unbelievable how well I can see without any glasses. I would like to appreciate for the job well done to Dr. Jeff and his hard working eye team, carers and staff nurse Ana and her husband for the kindness and support they have shown. Now I am trying to get my job back. Thank you to the sponsors of this trip.
May God Bless All of You.
Koto Waqa - Nailaga Village Ba
Patients from the Yasawa Islands and Vatulele
It was a beautiful morning the 16th November with bright sunshine after continuous rain for four days. I thank God for His plan which made this trip a very challenging one and very beautiful for the patients. A total of twelve patients traveled with me to Taveuni for eye surgery, six patients from Yasawas Islands, one from Ba, and five patients from Vatulee.
We met Mr. Richard at the Fisheries Jetty in Latouka on that morning. He arranged for everything in order to reach Taveuni and also brought with him boat fare, van fare from Lautoka to Suva and also the return fare, and meal money. We collected the patients from Vatulele at 11:00 at Korolevu Jetty andboarded the ferry to Taveuni at 4:00 p.m. and we we reached Taveuni on the 17th November at 1:00p.m. Transport was waiting for us at the Taveuni Jetty and we arrived at the hospital at 1:30p.m. Four patients were taken straight for eye surgery and the rest were done the next day. Patient post op care took place on the 2nd day. They were happy that they could see again especially with those who had cataracts removed.
We traveled back to the capital of Fiji, Suva on the 21st and arrived at 7:30 a.m. on November 22nd. Taina, the Vatulele nursing practitioner was waiting for us at the Suva (Narayan Jetty). I dropped the Vatulele patient back at Korolevu on our way to Lautoka, and we managed to reach Lautoka at 12:30p.m. We dropped off the patients from the Yasawas with their boat fare.
On behalf of the patients and their family I would like to thank the organizations and Dr. Jeff Rutgard of Loma Linda University, the Hawaiian Eye Foundation, Marine Reach, and the Rotary Clubs of Taveuni and New Zealand for arranging this trip and restoring our eyesight. Thank you for all of your support and prayers even though my wife Nurse Ana couldn’t make it due to family commitment. It was a very challenging trip for me and the patients who have never traveled this far from our villages, but I can truly see the big change in the lives of the patients after Dr. Jeff restored the vision to the patients.
May God’s Blessing be upon you always. With love and prayers
Thank you all for sharing your comments. Over the past 5 years I have been doing nearly all of my MSICS with a 6mm or less incision – only on rare occasion do I enlarge with greater than 6mm. My decision to do this was related to different “genetic” populations, e.g. the South Pacific Samoans and Fijians. From doing numerous surgeries on these wonderful patients, I made the decision to create and institute a newer version of the procedure.
I do many procedures with a 3-4 mm incision, thus I think the procedure in the technique you have shared is an example of what can be done (kudos!). I wish to patent some very helpful instruments to do this. Can any of you assist me with patents? This would raise more funds so that I can continue for another 20 years, serving the poor. Thank you for all your kindness. Best wishes to you all!
Dr. Jeff Rutgard wins an Award from SEE International for performing more humanitarian eye surgeries in more countries for the poor than any other American Ophthalmologist. Additionally, Jeff was lauded for his training other U.S. Ophthalmologists, and Foreign Ophthalmologists his small incision cataract surgery techniques, oculoplastic surgery and corneal surgery. CHECK OUT new YouTube Video!
I have been in Vanuatu helping some of the poorest in the world…no running water or electricity and most everyone is living in thatch-roofed, one room, dirt-floored huts. Beautiful people and lots of photos coming from our team. We accomplished almost 100 surgeries on the blind and hopeless. I love my job! I thank the Lord every day for this gift.
Dr. Jeff Rutgard is making lifelong friends in Palau, again. Jeff went to Palau with a great group, curing blindness wherever it hides. Rutgard found some young patients this time, as well, taking great care with all. Tylee Trumble was among the iSight Mission group and helped prepare the patients for the quick surgery Dr. Rutgard is so famous for. Rutgard Technique continues to gain acceptance and Dr. Jeff loves teaching anyone who will listen. As a credit to this great humanitarian, accomplished doctors come from far and wide to spend time with Rutgard, learning his technique. And yes, he twists arms, encouraging all to venture out into their own like missions to cure the World’s blindness.
We hope for a safe trip home for all. You will leave Palau a brighter place!
Dr. Jeffrey Rutgard is currently teaching a small incision cataract surgery course with Dr. Janak Shah from Mombai, India through Sept 2nd at the University California Santa Barbara. Jeff Rutgard and Janak Shah are acting as clinical instructors for SEE International. SEE International is a foundation that has been in existence for over 35 years dedicated to assisting physicians with the supplies necessary to perform surgery on the blind poor all over the world.
Dr. Rutgard was specifically chosen to be the clinical instructor for SEE International, the Hawaiian Eye Foundation, and because of the efficiency of the Rutgard Technique and Rutgard’s vast experience in doing surgeries under adverse conditions (on beaches or in jungles instead of operating rooms). In fact, Dr. Rutgard has done more humanitarian eye surgeries than any other of the over 1,000 SEE Foundation ophthalmology surgeons who volunteer. In fact Dr. Rutgard has done more humanitarian eye surgery in more countries restoring sight to the blind poor than any other.
This weekend Dr. Rutgard and Dr. Shah will be training another new group of ophthalmologists from all over the United States. Dr. Rutgard has already taught over 1,000 physicians his Rutgard technique so that they can improve their skills. Dr. Rutgard receives no compensation. When asked, he explains that he gives his knowledge away freely, only asking that those who have come to learn will use these skills to serve the poor, unserved, and underserved blind on our planet. God bless you, Dr. Rutgard.
Dr. Rutgard with a local Belize cab driver who hasn’t driven in years. ”Back to Work!” He just had the bandages removed and couldn’t wait to drive. Hundreds were seen and many now see!