An Unforeseen Patient

I just finished a residency in ocular disease and low vision at the VA hospital in Tucson, AZ. Besides filling in on the occasional weekend for other optometrists, I’ve never been completely on my own without a supervising doctor to check in with when I had a complicated case. In optometry school we always heard horror stories of a new optometry/residency grad’s first day and how they had a patient with some crazy, obscure condition. Well, this was my ‘first day’ patient here in Haiti…

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These pictures are from the second time we saw her. When she first presented, the left eye was only restricted when looking down and slightly when looking right. Her left pupil was also dilated. With limited medical resources in Cap-Haitien, we sent her for immediate blood work and a basic CT scan of the head. We also advised she see a neuro-ophthalmologist (the closest is about 5 hours away). She preferred to return to us with the results, which were all normal. On return, the restrictions of her left eye had progressed and she could now only look left (as seen in the pictures above). At this point, we were worried she may have an aneurysm compressing one or more nerves leading to her eye and eyelid muscles causing paralysis of those muscles. We again strongly advised she see a neuro-ophthalmologist and also get further testing done to see if she does have an aneurysm.

Her case is a prime example of some of the issues here in Haiti: limited resources and poverty. She spent ~$150 US dollars on her initial blood work and CT scan, which may not seem like much, but for her, was all the money she had; and with the testing being inconclusive, probably seems to her like a waist of money. Now she has to ask her family for money to travel, see a specialist, and get further testing. She will also likely need surgery. 

We are unsure at this point if she proceeded with seeing a specialist. We plan to contact her this week to find out and see how she’s doing. 

With the harsh reality of this woman’s case, we know that the Lord is the great physician and is able to heal all wounds, big and small. We are praying for her that she will lean into Him as she takes these next steps down the path the Lord is leading her on.

– Dr. Leigha Davis



And so it begins….

Hey everyone, our names are Leigha Davis and Chris Little. We are from Arizona and have been in Haiti for a little over a week now. We will be here for a month! Some great time to help and love people and witness the power of God move in ways we may never understand. So far, we have gotten to know the doctors here very well. There are some exciting things happening here. As God is continuing to work through us, He is putting people in our paths that are willing to serve the Lord alongside us and help in any way they can.

This past weekend we went to a small town up in the mountains and did a mobile clinic with some other Haitians and a few Haitian natives who are now living in the US. It was a wonderful, yet, eye opening experience to have been a part of. People walked anywhere between 5 minutes to 3 hours just to come to the medical and vision clinics to be seen. We saw 126 patients in the vision clinic in just 3 and a half days! It was exhausting but we enjoyed every minute of it.           


This is one of the friends we made while there. We were able to get him set up with some much needed glasses and in return he brought us fresh coconuts and sugar cane every day. Sounds like a fair trade to me!


This was another lady that we saw while we were at the mobile clinic. She had a condition called distichiasis in both eyes. She was one of two people we saw with this condition. In both cases, an extra row of lashes was growing towards the inside of the upper lid and was turned into the eyes causing significant scarring of the cornea. She was blind in one eye due to her condition.


This patient had a very common condition found here in Haiti (and really, everywhere), although her case was much more severe than usually seen. It is called a pterygium and is thought to be caused by UV exposure from the sun. The growths are non-cancerous but can cause decreased vision if severe enough.

Young cataract

This boy was a tough little man. He let us dilate his eyes without any fuss at all! Unfortunately, he had a cataract in his left eye from trauma about a year ago. 

These were just a few of the interesting conditions we saw. We will be sure to keep you all updated about the adventures God is taking us on while we are here.