Dr. Henry traveled with a team of two physicians, two nurses, four interpreters and six vital co-workers to the Andes Mountains to serve six communities, conducting free eye exams and make appointments in Cusco for those with critical needs for eye surgery. Dr. Henry and his team were sponsored by Legend Treks, a non-profit travel company dedicating to educating customers about world needs through extensive travels.
In 2011, Larry Nutt, the director of Legend Treks, asked Dr. Henry to speak at the first International Ophthalmology meeting at UAMS. The following year, Dr. Henry and his son, Robert, accompanied by Mr. Nutt on an exploratory trip Chachora, Peru. This year, Dr. Henry returned to Peru with his wife and team to offer his expertise in eye care to Cachora and the surrounding area.
During the first week of their trip, the team kicked off their adventure in Cachora, where they screened over 200 patients in three days. The screenings had already been well publicized on the radio and with flyers in the surrounding villages, so the screenings were well attended. Some of the villages they reached were located as high as 13,700 feet high. The team moved to Ollantaytambo to reach those villages high in the mountains. They faced a few days of cold, rainy weather, but it did not keep them from screening 40 more people in Tastayoc.
The patients who were screened had common problems, such as far sightedness, which were treated with reading glasses. Several of the patients living at the higher altitudes were suffering from dry eyes and small corneal growths, so the team provided sun glasses and lubricants. Patients with visual impairment due to cataracts were offered cataract surgery in Cusco. A missionary in Cusco, named Dr. Nathan Henson, agreed to perform the surgeries for no cost and the team made arrangement for their transportation, meals and housing.
All together, the team screened 505 patients, identifying 24 who needed surgery to restore their vision. They hope their work will have a lasting effect on the area, not only in their eye health but introducing Dr. Henson as a free resource for eye surgery.