The “Operation Vision” project
Two weeks ago, on 8 October, the Imo Foundation andy Cáritas signed an eye health agreement called “Operation Vision”. Its aim is to enable financially disadvantaged people to have their vision checked and to receive surgical treatment to restore their eyesight or ensure that they do not lose it. As there may, in fact, be many people who need it, Cáritas will be handling all of the requests.
Unlike other initiatives involving acts of solidarity to improve the eyesight of certain groups from outside Spain, this one is different in that it is aimed at helping people at home who have vision problems and cannot resolve them.
Selection criteria and how the programme will work
We speak to Dr Anniken Burés, an IMO ophthalmologist and member of the monitoring committee of the programme, which, as previously mentioned, was initiated only two weeks ago with the signing of the agreement and has already begun selecting people who could benefit from these operations.
Launching the programme
Dra. Burés: Patients have already started applying, and they are being processed by Cáritas, which is responsible for selecting patients based on the eye problems they’re suffering from and their socio-economic status and assessing whether they are candidates to participate in this programme. Once selected, IMO will be responsible for treating their eye disorders.
Q: What do these candidates need to do to be operated on at IMO?
A: The patients need to bring a medical report, so that we can get an idea of what they need and a report from social services that is processed by Cáritas.
Medical team and facilities
Q: To give us an idea of what happens inside IMO as a centre exclusively dedicated to vision problems, we have had the privilege of recording and seeing at first-hand the operating theatres in which IMO's team works. With this, the 500 people who will benefit from the programme can get an idea of what they will find. Today, for example, we were able to see an operation to change a lens, a glaucoma cataract procedure and an operation to remove an intraocular tumour.
A: We don’t know what kind of disorders we’ll be mostly seeing, but we have an idea of the most common. Based on the current population, we imagine that cataract surgery will be performed most, but we won’t know exactly until the time comes. But there won’t be any restrictions, as we have the resources to carry out all kinds of eye treatment.
Q: Dr Burés, you were telling me that the first patients to get this opportunity will be children with vision problems.
Children, the main priority
A: Yes, eye diseases in children create a lot of social alarm. Parents and family members are very concerned and they’re the first to apply. It’s very important to treat children and treat them quickly. Children can’t be on a waiting list; their vision is developing rapidly and what can’t be resolved at that age, won’t be resolved later, putting their vision and future quality of life at risk.
Q: What kind of disorders do children suffer from?
A: They range from congenital cataracts that prevent them from seeing to strabismus and glaucoma. All of them are very serious conditions that can leave them blind within a few months.
Q: As we were saying, 10 people have been selected in the first two weeks. Once they reach this point, they go to IMO for the relevant tests to be done to determine the type of intervention and treatment to be performed.
A: Exactly. We have an idea of what the patient has from the report, but it’s necessary to carry out the same tests that we perform on all patients who attend regularly. We don’t know if they’ll need surgery or another type of treatment, but we initially assume that they have some kind of disorder.
Monitoring and follow-up
Q: And then you carry out the follow-up.
A: Exactly. We take care of the surgery, treatment and the patient follow-up.
Q: These 500 operations are on top of those that you usually perform throughout the year.
A: The numbers are approximate; they can go up or down, but will always be based on what we find.