Dr. Hurt Visits Haiti

Since November 2005, Dr. Hurt has been making a yearly medical mission trip to Haiti.  While in Haiti, he stays at an orphanage in St. Ard, just outside of Archiaie.  Within the orphanage compound there is a medical building where he holds some of his eye clinics.  Most days he goes out to other sites where he sets up an examination lane and eyeglass dispensary.  Usually, these locations are concrete block churches.  Sometimes, they are more remote places where the only buildings are lean-to structures made of poles and woven rattan planks.
Dr Hurt takes about 1,000 pairs of used eyeglasses and 100 pair of non-prescription sunglasses.  Most of the Haitians have never seen an eye doctor before.  He has very few patients that come in with an old pair of eyeglasses. The greatest need is for reading glasses and bifocals.  Many of the people of Haiti have good vision in the distance, but once they reach 40 years of age, they are no longer able to read, sew, or do other near tasks.

Dr. Hurt also takes dozens of bottles of eye medications.  Antibiotics are commonly needed for eye infections, but the greatest need is for artificial tears.  Haiti’s air is extremely smoky.  The Haitians use fire for cooking, light, burning trash and warmth.  Everywhere you go, you can smell the smoke.  Even the children who come into the clinic will complain of their eyes burning and feeling dry.  Artificial tears are used to rinse the eyes and lubricate them.
Haiti is a Caribbean country east of Cuba.  It shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic.  It is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

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