For 22nd straight year, Budenz travels to Ghana to provide treatment, training

As he has done for each of the last 22 years, Don Budenz, MD, MPH, Kittner Family Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, spent a week in Accra, Ghana, performing cataract and glaucoma surgeries and treating patients with other eye issues.

For 22nd straight year, Budenz travels to Ghana to provide treatment, training click to enlarge Budenz performs an eye exam in Ghana

As he has done for each of the last 22 years, Don Budenz, MD, MPH, Kittner Family Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology spent a week in Accra, Ghana, performing cataract and glaucoma surgeries and treating patients with other eye issues.

With support from Christian Eye Ministry, Budenz and his fellow physicians -- many former trainees -- have been able to maximize their time while in Ghana by developing long-term relationships with local ophthalmologists and training them on current standards of care. During the five-day 2017 trip, Budenz and a colleague performed 71 surgeries and examined 375 patients, many of whom he has examined, treated, and operated on before. He also had the opportunity to work with local physicians, many of whom are long-time colleagues and friends.

According to the Glaucoma Association of Ghana, more than 700,000 Ghanaians are living with Glaucoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Ghana has a population of 27 million and only 74 ophthalmologists, and most of those do not perform surgery,” Budenz said. “The services we provide are needed and appreciated.”

Budenz says these annual trips will continue and in the future he hopes to bring Kittner Eye Center trainees to Ghana to help treat more patients.