Dr. Hoines Joins Medical Ministry International in Colombia

Ophthalmology Associates’ Dr. John Hoines recently traveled to Barrancas, Colombia, in the northeast area of Colombia about 25 miles from the country of Venezuela, with Medical Ministry International. During the two-week trip, they saw 5,200 individuals, fit 4,000 pairs of glasses and performed 260 eye surgeries—most of which were cataract and pterygium surgeries. In addition, Hoines performed 27 strabismus surgeries for crossed or wandering eyes. Hoines’ has traveled to South America 14 times.

“The overwhelming need and very appreciative patients made it a very rewarding trip for me,” said John Hoines, Ophthalmologist for Ophthalmology Associates.

Nine ophthalmologists including Hoines, 12 nurses and 23 helpers from the US and Canada went on the mission trip and joined forces with approximately 12 local Colombians plus many local church volunteers to make the mission trip a success. Eye exams were done in a local school and the surgeries were done in a nearby hospital. All equipment including operating room microscopes, surgical equipment, glasses, drugs, and any disposables are provided by medical professionals that traveled to Colombia.

Medical Ministry International (MMI) is a non-denominational Christian group that runs approximately 60 medical mission trips per year. Five or six of these are eye projects. MMI is headquartered in Toronto, Canada with a USA affiliate in San Antonio Texas—I Care San Antonio. MMI provides all their own equipment including operating room microscopes, surgical equipment, glasses, drugs and any disposables that may be needed. For more information, visit www.mmi.org.

Here, Dr. Hoines and his surgery assistant, Trish Bergland—a physicians assistant from Boise Idaho, are performing a strabismus proceedure. Hoines and Bergland attened Cornell College in Mt Vernon, Iowa for their undergraduate degrees.

In South American there is a real social stigma with strabismus problems. Young people and adults are not accepted and have a hard time getting a job or even getting married. There also is very poor access to strabismus surgery and if available they are unable to afford it or have to travel hundreds of miles which also is expensive. Dr. Hoines finds it very rewarding to be able to do this type of surgery. A few years ago a strabismus surgery was performed on a 18 year old girl that came back the next year to show us her post-op results and introduce her new husband!



Check out our current career opportunities at Ophthalmology Associates.