Our Work

Saving Sight: Roatán



Project Objectives

Our Partner: Clinica Esperanza (clinicaesperanza.org) provides low-cost/no cost medical care to the people of Roatan. At the medical clinic and hospital, people can receive services from the walk-in medical clinic, women's health center, pediatrics, birthing center, dental clinic including a laboratory and pharmacy. The clinic also provides outreach clinics, community health education programs, and school health screenings for vision and oral health.
The Clinic is currently located in Sandy Bay and all people are welcome. The Clinic treats approximately 80-100 patients in a typical Dday usually about 65% adults and 35% children. It operates five days per week, starting at 7:30am until 6:00pm. More than 3500 patients consider the Clinic to be their primary medical care provider. Thus far, more than 50,000 patients have been treated in the Clinic.

Due to the limited number of medical facilities available, patients have come from all over the island and the mainland to seek treatment or medications The Clinic provides a needed service to people who would otherwise likely not seek treatment due to costs and the crowded condition of the local public hospital.
Saving Sight - Roatan has a significant population with the diagnosis of Glaucoma.

Glaucoma results from damage to the optic nerve. Usually the damage is from increased pressure in the eye. The damage to the eye is irreversible and glaucoma can lead to blindness. The most common form, open-angle glaucoma, generally appears in middle age and seems to have a genetic component. In this type of glaucoma, vision loss occurs very gradually. One of the leading causes of blindness on the Island is Glaucoma. Our hope is to reduce the blindness by earlier detection of the disease. The students will support and be supervised by the local physician in the clinic. Screenings will be completed with Tonopen, a devise that will measure the intraocular pressure in the eye.

School Vision Testing:
Students' primary responsibility will be to perform Snelling chart vision screenings on students in the local schools. This has been performed for the last 2 years and will continue this year. Demographic information will also be collected so an assessment of whether certain demographic characteristics are associated with vision problems.

Project Opportunities

As in years one and 2, the team will participate in 2 screening programs where 1) the students go into the communities to perform vision screenings and 2) test for glaucoma using the Tonopen in the clinic with appropriate supervision. All patients with increased intraocular pressure would be instructed to have further care with Clinica Esperanza, a local ophthalmologist or other healthcare facility. A card would be given to the patient with their name, date and the intraocular pressure readings for both eyes. Results of all patients would be kept on a computer spreadsheet in the clinic. All patients would be followed up appropriately.
Team members will be expected to compile the data and complete preliminary analysis, including year one data, to identify prevalence patterns or additional issues relating to ocular health emerging from these screening processes.
Specific Project Activities:
• Screening for and data collection for glaucoma
• Vision screening in the schools grade 3 and up in surrounding communities
• Development and Compilation of screening and referral database and tracking program
• Volunteer work in the community close to the clinic working with children as tutors, helping with English or homework, playing sports with the children at either SOL Foundation or the Sandy Bay Lighthouse Orphanage

Project Application Process

1. Choose a project location that interests you
2. Complete the 2016-2017 application
3. Send a CV and a copy of your most recent transcript to gh-education@duke.edu
4. Deadline: October 24, 2016

Students selected for participation in the SRT program will also need to complete the application through volunteer@clinicaesperanza.org.

Project Selection Criteria


The ideal student volunteer would be someone interested in a career in health promotion, a working knowledge of Spanish and previous international travel experience.

Project Application Deadline


Project Placements Available


Project Status




Share This