Our most recent trip was
May 17-24, 2015. With a team of 30 people, we served 500 patients in the clinic at the Ricardo Limardo Hospital and performed
eye surgeries on 124 patients. Members of our organization come from the Washington, DC area, as well as from around the country
and world, including Oregon, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Canada, and Belgium.
Casa de Luz is a 501(c)3 charity organization founded
by a group of doctors and staff primarily from Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC. In partnership
with Island Impact Ministries, another established 501(c)3 charity with facilities and personnel in the Dominican Republic,
Casa de Luz has provided free surgical and clinical eye care to thousands of patients in the poorest province of the
Dominican Republic, primarily for underprivileged children and adults who would not otherwise have access to eye medical care.
As part of a medical outreach program, Island Impact performs pre-screening of potential patients and provides local support
for the Casa de Luz team of surgeons, nurses, and other volunteers for a week of surgical outreach. The first mission trip
was conducted in 2006 and a trip has been conducted annually since that time.
To support the annual mission trip, the core group of volunteers solicits donations of medical
supplies and equipment from various pharmaceutical and medical suppliers and from local medical institutions. Still some supplies,
equipment, and travel funds in excess of these donations are needed, so the core group members solicit cash donations from
the local ophthalmic and pediatric communities. Funds donated for the mission trip are then used to purchase necessary supplies,
to pay other allowable operating expenses, and to pay some travel and hotel expenses of technicians, fellows, medical residents
and a medical interpreter as deemed necessary for the success of the mission. Most doctors, nurses, and other volunteers have
paid, and continue to pay, their own travel and hotel expenses.
The surgery and clinical support is performed at the Ricardo Limardo Public Hospital in Puerto Plata,
under an arrangement made by Island Impact. Normally two operating rooms are made available to the mission along with various
rooms set up as an eye clinic. A typical mission trip consists of travel on a Saturday to the Dominican Republic, where the
group is met by representatives of Island Impact who provide local transportation from the airport to the hotel chosen for
the group. Sunday is spent in organizing supplies and performing patient pre-op screening and work up. Each day of the mission,
Monday through Friday, the Island Impact staff transports the mission team to the hospital early in the morning and returns
the team to the hotel in the evening. The clinic will examine hundreds of patients and provide glasses and medication for
those who are in need. The surgical team will perform procedures during the course of the week consisting primarily of eye
muscle surgery, pterygium removals, and cataract surgery. Some additional minor procedures may also be performed. The mission
team performs follow up work and administrative work on Saturday and departs the Dominican Republic on Sunday.
To facilitate fundraising, the medical
outreach program was named "Casa de Luz," Spanish for the "House of Light." The goal of the organization
is to raise $70,000 annually in support of the mission.