Cristian Goiros, 6, of Honduras is blinded by a white cataract in his left eye. He is about to go into the operating room with Dr. Jordana Fein (right) of The Retina Group of Washington as part of her volunteer service with the Arlington-based Virginia Hospital Medical Brigade.
Photo courtesy of the Virginia Hospital Medical Brigade
Cataracts are the principle cause of blindness in the world. Although they generally start out small and develop slowly, cataracts grow large enough, resulting in cloudy, fuzzy, foggy, or filmy vision. Luckily for 30 people of all ages in Honduras, a local eye surgeon, Dr. Jordana Fein, who resides in Vienna and works at The Retina Group of Washington, it was simply a matter of using her skills as an eye surgeon to help people in need in the town of Comayagua, Honduras.
Through Fein’s efforts in conjunction with Virginia Hospital Center’s Medical Brigade, more than two dozen individuals, all blinded from cataracts were able to see family members many for the first time in their lives.
According to Fein, her weeklong service was in conjunction with the Virginia Hospital Center’s Medical Brigade’s (VHCMB) annual effort to improve the health of communities in Honduras. The Brigade is a nonprofit organization that currently is focused on curative services and providing sustainable community development interventions that improve health. Services such as cataract surgery are generally not available there.
"I was the first cataract surgeon,” Fein said. According to Redman Communications, when Fein participated in the VHCMB for the first time, she joined a pediatric ophthalmologist, an OBGYN and a urologist in using four operating rooms in a hospital that was only open when visiting medical personnel came to offer treatment to members of the community.
Fein said, “(This was) one of the hardest, but clearly one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. … I am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in the Virginia Hospital Center Medical Brigade as their first cataract surgeon this past year. It is truly humbling to be able to help people who otherwise would not have had access to the care that they deserve."
Fein performed surgery on a six-year-old boy who at age two was discovered in a rural area and diagnosed with bilateral cataracts.
Dr. Jordana Fein works in the Fairfax and Manassas locations of The Retina Group of Washington. It is the region’s largest provider of retinal and macular care with other NOVA locations in Tysons and Alexandria, as well as Sterling, Woodbridge, and Fredericksburg.