Making an impact
Dr. Harrie occasionally receives letters from teenagers expressing their gratitude for what he had done for them. He said giving back to the community is “very satisfying...[there is] immediate feedback that you can tell you’ve helped them and made an impact in their lives.”“I think a lot of doctors have been blessed with skills and knowledge, he sad. “The nice thing about ophthalmology is that its pretty high impact. In a short time period, whether it’s just a pair of glasses or whether it is cataract surgery, you can really impact a person’s life pretty dramatically.”
“I think a lot of ophthalmologists really want to try to help,” Dr. Harrie said, acknowledging that international volunteer trips aren’t always suitable for people who are raising a family or running busy practices.
“The need is always there,” he said. By being aware in their own communities, ophthalmologists can have a high impact on others in a short time period. Whether in low-vision centers, parent-teacher associations (PTAs), or homeless shelters, those who are willing to help others are sure to find an area in which they can make a difference.
“Wherever you are there’s a need,” Dr. Harrie said. “You don’t have to go to foreign countries to find a need.”
All images are courtesy of Roger Harrie, MD