Blindness in Belize
Belize is a country in Central America with a large coastline on the Caribbean. More than half of the population live in rural areas, where there is little access to health care services. Due to low accessibility and quality of medical care, citizens who have the resources seek services outside of the country.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness, followed by glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. In 2010, the Pan American Health Organization and the Ministry of Health teamed up to create a National Eye Health Plan to address the growing issue of blindness and help restore sight. However, with only ten ophthalmologists living in the country, many citizens rely on organizations like SEE to receive vital eye care services.
SEE in Belize
Since 2001, SEE volunteer Dr. Baxter McLendon has been working in the country to provide free screenings and sight-restoring surgeries in the country several times a year.
For about a decade, SEE has been partnering with the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired, a nonprofit committed to providing affordable and accessible eye care at five locations around the country. Through this partnership, SEE provides quality medical supplies needed for performing advanced sight-restoring surgeries.
In January 2017, SEE held a program in Belize City, where volunteer surgeons performed the MSICS technique to restore sight to 75 patients blinded by cataracts.