Gifts make vision-saving surgeries possible for uninsured

Posted: May 2011

For more than a decade, eye specialists at the University of Texas Medical Branch have volunteered their time to help hundreds of patients at the only free eye specialty clinic for the uninsured in Galveston County, the St. Vincent's House Eye Clinic.

Now, with two generous corporate gifts, eye doctors at UTMB Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences will be able to perform vision-saving surgeries on patients unable to afford such care.

Alcon Foundation has awarded a $57,030 grant to provide cataract and glaucoma surgeries through the department's community outreach program.

"With Alcon's support, we will be able to expand our program to provide 30 additional eye surgeries in 2011," said Dr. Gibran Khurshid, clinic medical director and UTMB ophthalmologist.

Quantel Medical, which develops and markets ophthalmology ultrasound and laser systems, has donated a device to evaluate cataract patients for lens replacement surgery.

Using ultrasound, the A/Scan accurately measures the length of the patient's eye to determine the power of the artificial lens to be used during cataract surgery.

These donations provide invaluable faculty-supervised training opportunities for UTMB's ophthalmology residents who help staff the St. Vincent's House Eye Clinic, according to Dr. Misha Syed, resident program director for UTMB Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

Dr. Bernard Godley, department chairman, added, "These corporate donations enable us to provide vision-saving care to patients who otherwise would not be able to afford it, while making it possible for UTMB residents to get vital faculty-supervised training. We are grateful for these generous gifts."