SALT LAKE CITY - Members of the Moran Eye Center traveled to Sudan at the beginning of December to perform eye operations on locals in need.
Allen Crandall, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Utah, says they chose Sudan because lack of healthcare in the region results in it being among the highest levels of blindness in the world and they saw the opportunity to make a big impact.
The Moran Eye physicians helped everyone who needed it, often crossing dangerous boundaries between cultures.
"This is an area extremely depressed, constant warfare between warring tribes. And this is a very special trip because part of the work that we did was to work with warring tribes," Crandall said.
Charles Weber, a glaucoma fellow at the Moran Eye Center, says that the Sudanese are a quiet people but they showed appreciation for the surgeries.
"It's a stoic culture. They tend to not express too much emotion but to see them break out in song after a successful surgeries and the amount of community that we were able to build with them over a week of time is quite pleasing and impressive," he said.
In one of his weekly email updates sent back to the U.S., Michael Yei, the manager of the Moran international division, wrote, "Just watched two elderly women post-op wander through the camp looking up at everything and occasionally stopping to hug each other. Sight is a precious thing."