Over one thousand residents in St. James and Trelawny have benefitted from free eye services offered by the United States non-profit organization Great Shape! Inc.

The 45-volunteer optical professionals form part of an iCare Mission which partners with the Sandals Foundation to deliver free eye and general health services to underserved rural communities on an annual basis.

For over a week, a free clinic was operated at the Mount Carey Baptist Church in rural St. James, delivering free eye exams and general blood pressure and blood sugar checks to over 1,400 residents.

The team of 45 iCare optical volunteers are aiming to reach some 5 thousand people in Jamaica over a three-week period.

Some 150 laser surgeries were conducted on glaucoma patients at the clinic and prescription glasses delivered to children and the elderly.

In Falmouth, Trelawny, close to 50 residents also benefitted from free cataract surgeries done at the Falmouth Hospital while surgeries at the Cornwall Regional Hospital helped those suffering from diabetic retinopathy.

Steven Stern, Director of the iCare Mission said his team is aiming to serve five thousand Jamaicans this year.

“In the coming weeks, we will be operating clinics in the parishes of St. Ann and St. Catherine. We welcome residents to meet us as we aim to treat at least five thousand people.”

These residents who visited the eye clinic in Mount Carey, St. James eagerly fitted sunglasses after they received free eye screenings.

All services provided at the clinic, Stern notes, is conservatively valued at over US$10 million.

Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation expressed gratitude to the volunteers who continue to serve people in need.

“The services offered every year by the iCare Mission are many times out of the reach of ordinary Jamaicans. The Sandals Foundation and Sandals and Beaches resorts are very happy to accommodate these medical professionals as they bring these vital services to those who need it most.”

The Sandals Foundation and Sandals Resorts International arrange ground logistics for the community clinics as well as provide accommodation, meals and cover the cost of transportation for the medical volunteers.

These Ophthalmologists from the United States conducted some 150 laser surgeries on patients affected by glaucoma at a free clinic at the Mount Carey Baptist church in rural St. James.

Since 2009, the iCare Mission has conducted more than 40 thousand exams and distributed over 83 thousand pairs of glasses at the clinics which are also operated in Antigua and the Turks & Caicos.

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