BPEI to aid quake victims in Japan

The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (BPEI) of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo have launched a Japan Eye Rescue Mission to assist that country with recovery from the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake.

Miami-The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (BPEI) of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo have launched a Japan Eye Rescue Mission to assist that country with recovery from the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean earthquake.

The relief operations began April 12 as the institute’s Vision Van departed on a cargo flight from Miami International Airport to Sendai, Japan. This trip marks the Vision Van’s first international rescue mission, and it is expected to stay abroad for about 3 months.

The 40-foot converted bus contains a waiting room, three screening stations, an exam room, and ophthalmic equipment. For this trip, it is stocked with more than 1,000 ready-made lenses, donated by Eye Care Centers of America, to treat a wide range of prescription needs for people who lost or broke their eyeglasses.

While the van is in Japan, Keio University ophthalmologists and trained volunteers will use it to offer emergency vision screenings and treatments for people suffering from eye injuries incurred during or after the earthquake, to treat infections and inflammations from contaminated water and other hazards, and to replace eyeglasses lost while people were fleeing the earthquake.

Making the trip from the United States is Richard Lee, MD, PhD, associate professor of ophthalmology at the BPEI. He will provide training based on his experience with the institute’s relief work in Haiti.