Saving Sight /Roatán (2020)

Saving Sight /Roatán

Application Deadline:

Project Status:

  • Filled


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


  • Honduras


  • Roatan, Islas de Bahia

Start Date:

End Date:

Project Type:

  • Student Research Training Program


  • Yes

Placements Available:

  • 4

Saving Sight /Roatán (2020)

Our Partner Clinica Esperanza provides low/no-cost medical care to the people of Roatán. 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 located in Sandy Bay and all people are welcome. The Clinic treats approximately 80-120 patients in a typical day usually about 65% adults and 35% children. It operates five days per week, starting at 8:00am until 5:00pm. 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 on the island of Roatán, 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.

Project Opportunities

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

As in years past, the team will participate in 2 screening programs where

  1. The students go into the communities to perform vision screenings in the schools and
  2. Test for glaucoma using the tonometer in the clinic with appropriate supervision. All patients with increased intraocular pressure will be instructed to have further care with Clinica Esperanza, a local ophthalmologist or other healthcare facility. A card will 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 related to ocular health emerging from these screening processes.
  3. This year students will be asked to participate in a health assessment survey in the Colonia.

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. 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 a iCare tonometer that will measure the eye's intraocular pressure.

School Vision Testing

Students' primary responsibility will be to perform Snelling chart vision screenings on students in the local schools for third grade through high school. This has been performed for the last four years and will continue this year. Demographic information will also be collected to assess whether certain demographic characteristics are associated with vision problems.

Health Asssessment Survey

This coming year we have been asked to participate in a health assessment survey for a Colonia next to Clinica Esperanza. One day each week, two students will be paired with a promatora, (health care promotor) in the community and the two groups of students will visit families in their homes along with the promatoras to complete a questionnaire used by the Red Cross to access health care availability in Honduras. Again, team members will be expected to compile the data and complete preliminary analysis.

Specific Project Activities

  • Screening for and data collection for glaucoma
  • Vision screening in the schools grade 3 and up in surrounding communities as well as collection of data for Health Assessment for The Colonia.
  • 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 14, 2019. 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 23. Any questions regarding the application, interview dates or general project information should be directed to Lysa MacKeen.

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, an intermediate or advanced level of oral Spanish and previous international living experience.

Hear about what happened: 

Read more about the previous team’s work here and here. You can also read about the 2021 team’s time in their blogs here and here.