Posted on Jan 20, 2018
President Nate introduced today’s speaker, Dr. Joe Myers, an optometrist with University Health Services at the U of M Kellogg Health Center and co-founder of the Eye Health Institute. Joe’s name was mentioned to us as a possible speaker by DG Rick Caron. We are so glad he was able to share with us the work he and the U of M have been doing to address eye health in Jamacia.
In 1996, Myers, alongside an eye-care team including Dr. Richard Cross, traveled to Jamaica to conduct vision screenings and provide glasses for those in underserved communities.  With ancestry tracing back to Jamaica, both doctors desired to return to help. They were met by a large need for ocular care.
In 2001, Joe and Dr. Cross founded the Eye Health Institute (EHI), a nonprofit clinic that aims to provide comprehensive quality eye care and ocular health services to the people of Jamaica. He received his optometric degree from the Ferris State College of Optometry, now the Michigan College of Optometry. He came to U-M more than 25 years ago and is still enjoying his position at UHS in addition to working with the clinic.
Joe showed a series of slides of the eye clinics (shown at right) consisting of pre-constructed walls that made into clinic spaces and erected on cement slabs of various sizes.
Joe said he remains active with EHI and continues to visit Jamaica with a large group, spending two to three weeks working at the clinic and overseeing pod installation. He describes EHI as being one of the best-equipped clinics in Jamaica thanks to donations, with advanced technology such as electronic charting, surgeons on staff who can perform cataract surgery, and the ability to facilitate the best they can for the government to provide glaucoma medications. On a day when the clinic is conducting eye exams, doctors may see 40-50 patients, and when conducting cataract screenings, they may see as many as 70-100. In several cases, doctors have saved lives by finding tumors.