The Sponsel Foundation was created with the intention of providing eye care and eradicating blindness for people with ocular disease and trauma in severely underserved communities around the world. It has served rural populations, starting with Guatemala, since 2008. Since then thousands of patients have received treatment and surgeries.
In 2008, the Sponsel Foundation set up their very first eye clinic in the Salud y Paz hospital in Chichicastanengo, Guatemala, with an optometrist to operate the fully equipped clinic year round. This year, in February 2018, the Sponsel Foundation set up the Roger William Lytle clinic, in honor of Dr. Sponsel's late grandson, and our very first trip allowed us to examine 164 patients and perform 43 surgeries in only 3 days, with 1 surgeon. With a very successful first clinic in our new location we look forward to continue to serve that community for years to come.
In 2016, the Sponsel Foundation teamed up with doctors from around the world to open a modern eye clinic in Malawi. This is a permanent, full-time clinic where surgeons and researchers can engage in vision-related projects and surgeries. During the first two years 590+ patients were screened and over 150 surgeries were performed, many on children. Malawi, is one of the poorest counties in the world. About 1% of the population is blind; 40% of these are due to cataracts; other leading causes include trauma, environmental issues, malnutrition, and congenital diseases. Our unique Eyes of Africa clinic is the only hope for many and will serve as a model for clinics that can be set up in other African countries.
The Sponsel Foundation is happy to announce that in February 2018, we held our very first, free children's clinic for adolescent's in the South Texas region. This clinic allows children, ages 0-17 to be seen by Ophthalmic Subspecialists and receive not only comprehensive eye exams but also refractions and the opportunity to apply for free glasses via vouchers provided by our partners, Prevent Blindness Texas. We started off small only seeing a handful of children, however, we hope that by assistant PBT with school screenings in the Fall we will continue to grow our clinic and make it a semi-annual event.