MOBILE EYE CLINIC
JFF’s Sight Restoration and Blindness Prevention Project focuses on providing free eye treatment and operations for the curable blind in the lower socio-economic group in Indonesia.
Setting up the Project in 1991, John Fawcett was faced with the challenge of blind, poor people in remote hamlets being unable to travel, and developed the idea of a mobile operating theatre, which could take the service to the poor in their villages.
The original mobile eye clinic was a secondhand school bus fitted out in Perth, Western Australia, and air-freighted to Bali by the Australian Air Force. The Foundation has come a long way since then, and the current mobile clinics are sophisticated operating units with plenty of space for patients and the operating team, with a separate section for patients being prepared for surgery.
The JFF team travels to villages around Bali, and also to other islands where there are no ophthalmic services and where people are too poor to seek specialist medical attention. The team screens village people for eye problems, distributes glasses where appropriate and treats minor eye infections. The main purpose of the mass screenings is to identify people who are blind with cataracts and operate them to restore their sight in the mobile eye clinic – a fully-equipped, sterile operating theatre. The following day the patients return for a post-op check and have their eye pads removed, able to see again, sometimes for the first time in many years.