The Vision Clinic element of FUMCOR’s Adult Mission Trip program was conceived by Rev. Bill Mooney, an Associate Pastor at FUMC. Bill’s interest in vision activities were driven by the fact that he was a member of the Lions Club and also his wife, Sylvia, suffered from macular degeneration. FUMC’s Adult Mission Trip pro gram had been initiated in 2003 with a construction & children’s bible school mission trip to Subriana, Honduras. The second trip was to the villages of Danli, La Cofradia & Escuapa, Honduras. This trip featured a new medical clinic element. Bill had heard that the medical element was very successful so he approached the leaders of the upcoming 2005 Mission Trip with the idea of holding a vision clinic in conjunction with the medical clinic. The leader, Dr. Jim Michel agreed to support the effort. Bill recruited Steve Reddick to work with him to plan, prepare and put on a Vision Clinic. They ordered in several boxes of prescription glasses from the Lion’s Club Roanoke Eye glass distribution center. With those glasses, a Snellen Vision Acuity eye chart, some glass cleaner, an age vs diopter correction chart and a rudimentary level of Spanish vocabulary they were ready for business. They set up their first clinic in La Cofradia (pictures follow). The following year (2006) Bill and Steve held vision clinics in the same three churches, Danli, La Cofradia & Escuapa. In 2007 Bill picked up a new partner, Gary Salk and put on the first Vision Clinic in Talanga, Honduras.
These rudimentary clinics were very beneficial, but Bill encouraged future teams to improve their techniques and equipment. First the teams started using reader glasses which opened up a much larger range of people that could be helped. Next the teams found that an autorefractor integrated with a computer based inventory of the Lion’s Club prescription glasses could be included in their ‘bag of tricks’ - this yielded a much higher “fit rate”. We then started examining eyes looking for various eye diseases. We found that a very high percentage of 40+ year patients had “Pterygiums” - a white scar type tissue across the eye due to irritation caused by sun, dust and smoke. To help our patients with Pterygiums we started explaining the reasons for them and giving them tips on how to mitigate the causes. To help with mitigation, we gave all of our patients eye drops, hat/sun visors and sun glasses. Later we were able to obtain a Tonometer to measure the inner optical eye pressure (IOP) - thus we could look for potential glaucoma cases. When we identified a patient with a high IOP we could have our doctors refer the patients to a local eye clinic where they could obtain glaucoma drops. We also started screening all older patients for macular degeneration using an Amstel chart. Recently pinhole glasses and instant adjustable eyeglass came into our quiver of vision gear.
The “Vision Clinic business” has expanded well beyond anyone’s imagination. FUMC and members of it’s congregation have held Vision Clinics in four countries (Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, and Kenya. A sustainable Vision Clinic was started in Kenya that has been operating on it’s own for over 8 years. Bill’s ‘vision’ of including Vision Clinics as an element in the FUMC Adult Mission program has led to helping over 3,500 individuals lead a better life because of being able to see better. We thank the GOOD LORD for the opportunity of knowing and working with BILL MOONEY.
The collective members of the FUMC Adult Mission Teams - Vision Clinic Team Members