Meeting Vision Care Needs in Peten

In May 2016, Optometrist Dr Christine Chmielewski returned to Peten to teach the eye course to the new student CHWs and to perform retinal exams on the diabetic patients cared for by the program. Christine was again assisted by her daughter/translator, Julie Smith, a graduate student in speech pathology. “The most gratifying thing to teach the CHWs about is how to prescribe reading glasses,” says Dr. Chmielewski. “We can meet the visual needs of about 80% of the adults in the communities with a simple pair of reading glasses. Many older people who thought they were ‘going blind’ are thrilled to see the newspaper, the bible and their sewing again!” Life in rural Peten involves chopping wood,

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