“In America, people seek medical attention in the very early stages, as soon as they notice something is wrong. But over there (in Nicaragua), they get to a point where they actually go blind.”Dr. Silviano Matamoros. Port St. Lucie surgeon.
Dr. Silviano Matamoros, a Prot St. Lucie eye surgeon, has restored or corrected the vision of 155 Nicaraguans during five missions there in the past year.
PORT ST. LUCIE – On missions to Nicaragua, eye surgeon Silviano Matamoros takes modern medicine to an undeveloped country. But more important than what he takes with him is what he leaves behind. During the past year, 155 people have had their vision restored or corrected under his hands.
“It’s a good feeling,” Matamoros said. “It’s a very good feeling to know you’ve helped someone.” Matamoros’ office, the Centre for Eye Care and Surgery in Port St. lucie, has sponsored the surgeon’s five trips to Nicaragua during the past year. He returned last week from a recent 6-day mission. During that time, he operated on 22 patients while Nicaraguan doctors observed and assisted. “The idea is to share technology and information with the doctors in that country,” Matamoros said. Nicaraguan doctors help coordinate the visits by screening prospective patients, assisting Matamoros during the surgery and treating patients after their operations. The operation most often performed is one to correct partial or total blindness caused by cataracts.
Cataracts can be corrected by surgery. But the disease, which becomes more common as people age, can cause blindness.
In cases where cataracts affect both eyes, Matamoros said a person’s life can be improved when just one eye is operated upon.
Matamoros can remember one man, blind in both eyes, who was guided to the hospital by his daughter. Days later, when bandages where removed from his corrected aye, the man shrugged off his daughter’s help. He wanted to walk alone again. “Many of these patients have very advanced cataracts, so even doing one eye makes them functional again,” Matamoros said. In addition to helping patients, Matamoros uses the time to show Nicaraguan doctors advanced techniques. He said they are eager to watch and understand.
The Nicaraguan doctors “are very willing to learn”, Matamoros said. “A lot of the deficiencies they have is because they don’t have the equipment they need to perform the operations themselves”.
The doctor would like to expand his missions in the future to include more local doctors. “I know there’s a lot of potential from just the response I have gotten already,” Matamoros said. “The last trip I went on, I did 22 surgeries, but if we got a team together to go down, we could do a lot more”.
St Lucie News Tribune