Saving Sight /Roatán

Saving Sight /Roatán

2019 Summer Team with Community Partner Lead, Nurse Peggy

Application Deadline:

Project Status:

  • Filled


  • Health care access,
  • Non-communicable diseases,
  • Monitoring and evaluation


  • Honduras


  • Roatan

Start Date:

End Date:

Project Type:

  • Student Research Training Program


  • Yes

Placements Available:

  • 04

Saving Sight /Roatán

Important COVID-19 Update: 
Duke University currently has a travel policy in place that currently prohibits non-essential travel for students ( due to COVID-19. Because of the uncertainty regarding the ability for students to be able to travel during summer 2021, the SRT projects for summer 2021 are designed for remote engagement. There are many logistical and ethical considerations for travel during a pandemic, so it may be that while it is possible to travel to the SRT site location the team may decide not to travel and continue the project as a remote engagement. If travel is advisable and beneficial, teams will be informed and plan for summer travel during the spring semester. Students are strongly encouraged to apply anticipating remote engagement with their project site. 

Project Objectives: Vision Screening, Glaucoma testing & annual collection of statistics on patients

Our Partner: Clinica Esperanza ( provides low/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 day usually about 65% adults and 35% children. It operates five days per week, starting at 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. More than 3500 patients consider the Clinic to be their primary medical care provider. Thus far, more than 55,000 patients have been treated in the Clinic.

Due to the limited number of medical facilities available on the island of Roatan, patients come from all corners of 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. One of the leading causes of blindness on the island is glaucoma which results from damage to the optic nerve. Usually the irreversible damage is from increased pressure in the eye. 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 is gradual. All patients with increased intraocular pressure will be instructed to have further care with Clinica Esperanza, a local ophthalmologist or other healthcare facility. Our hope is to reduce the blindness by earlier detection of the disease. If on location, the students will support and be supervised by the local physician in the clinic. Screenings will be completed with an iCare tonometer that will measure the eye’s intraocular pressure.

Clinic Support Projects: (Remote engagement)
During the last year students undertook two projects at the clinic’s request. One was to determine from which part of the island women come from for pre-natal care.  The other was to survey past volunteers about how the clinic experience changed their lives.  Both of those projects are ongoing and results are being analyzed.

School Vision Testing: (if on location)
Students’ primary responsibility will be to perform Snelling chart vision screenings on students in the local schools between 3rd and 10th grade. This has been performed for the last five years and will continue this year. Demographic information will also be collected to assess whether certain demographic characteristics are associated with vision problems.
Team members will be expected to compile the data from the vision screening and glaucoma tests and complete preliminary analysis, to identify prevalence patterns or additional issues related to ocular health emerging from these screening processes.

Specific Project Activities:


  • Data analysis of past glaucoma testing patterns
  • Volunteer survey review

On location:

  • 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 (non-profit) or the Sandy Bay Lighthouse Orphanage

Project Application Process
Students must fill out and submit a project application, CV and recent transcript to by October 15, 2020. Students may apply to no more than two project opportunities and a separate application must be completed for each SRT project site. The scheduled interviews for this project location will take place during the week of October 29 and November 2. Any questions regarding the application, interview dates or general project information should be directed to Lysa MacKeen or Erin Degerman.

Students selected for participation in the SRT program will also need to complete the application through

Project Selection Criteria
The ideal student volunteer would be someone interested in a career in health promotion, a working knowledge of at least intermediate Spanish and previous international living experience.