MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo today launched a special Japan Eye Rescue Mission to assist Japan with recovery from the devastation caused by the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake. The relief operations began this morning, as Bascom Palmer’s Vision Van departed on a cargo flight from Miami International Airport to Sendai, Japan. This will be the Vision Van’s first international rescue mission and it is expected to stay abroad for approximately three months.
While in Japan, the Vision Van will allow Keio University ophthalmologists and trained volunteers to offer emergency vision screenings and treatments for people suffering from eye injuries incurred during or after the earthquake, infections and inflammations from contaminated water and other hazards, and to replace eyeglasses lost while fleeing the earthquake. The Vision Van is stocked with over 1,000 ready-made lenses donated by Eye Care Centers of America that treat a wide range of prescriptions for people who lost or broke their eyeglasses.
“I really appreciate Bascom Palmer’s support for the healing of Japan. I went with my team to Northeastern Japan last week to assess the damage and find ways to help the survivors with their ocular needs. I knew, just as you have seen on the news, that many towns had been destroyed. But when I was there I was so shocked that it brought me to tears. From the bottom of my heart I feel that I want to help,” said Dr. Kazuo Tsubota, Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology of the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo.
“I hope that by making every effort to promptly support Dr. Tsubota and the people of Japan in this time of crisis, we help to improve the medical conditions in Japan and help facilitate a rapid recovery. Knowing the success we had with the Vision Van in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, I believe the Bascom Palmer Vision Van will prove to be an invaluable resource for Dr. Tsubota’s team,” said Eduardo Alfonso, M.D., Chairman of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.
Making the trip to Japan is Richard Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, who will provide training based on his experience with the Institute’s relief work in Haiti.
The Bascom Palmer Vision Van had its inaugural run in 2004 as a vehicle for bringing early detection of eye diseases such as amblyopia, glaucoma and macular degeneration to underserved areas from the Florida Keys through Martin County. It also provided vital emergency eye care services to the people of New Orleans and first responders following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Vision Van was donated to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute by the Josephine Leiser Foundation. The late Mrs. Leiser was a longtime Bascom Palmer patient who dreamed of providing free eye care to the medically underserved. The fully-equipped, 40-foot converted bus contains a comprehensive examination room, three screening stations, a waiting room and state-of-the-art ophthalmic equipment. It is uniquely suited for use in environments where the health care and public works infrastructure is essentially nonexistent.
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is ranked the #1 eye hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. With an international reputation as one of the premier providers of eye care in the world, Bascom Palmer is ranked #1 in patient care and residency training by Ophthalmology Times. As the largest ophthalmic care, research and educational center in the southeastern United States, more than 250,000 patients with nearly every ophthalmic condition are treated each year and more than 12,000 surgeries are performed annually. Founded in 1962, Bascom Palmer has patient care facilities in Miami, Palm Beach Gardens, Naples, and Plantation, Florida. For information about Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the Vision Van, contact Cynthia Birch, Director of the Health Information Center and Library and Associate Director of Marketing at (305) 326-6078, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bascompalmer.org.
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