Three to four times a year Dr. Mario Meallet volunteers his skills as an eye surgeon to international clinics.
He is an active board member for Fiji 4 Sight, an organization run by the Beeve Foundation based out of Glendale, and he travels to the Fiji Islands to perform cataract and cornea surgery.
He also travels to Mexico 3 to 4 times per year with The Flying Doctors of Mercy, an organization run by Liga International, a non-profit that provides health care and education to the people of Mexico.
Thanks to the organizations like LIGA and Fiji 4 Sight, Dr. Meallet can volunteer his expertise in cataract and corneal surgery to the local residents. The services provided in these rural clinics are all free.
The need in these remote parts of Mexico and Fiji is staggering and there are literally hundreds of patients seen per day.
The most common surgeries performed are cataract and pterygium surgery; however, the clinic can handle nearly every eye condition, as well as corneal diseases and glaucoma.
Dr. Meallet’s training prepared him for the challenges of treating the most daunting eyes conditions in settings where resources may be limited. He finds great reward in managing the most difficult of eye case in this type of third world setting.
What do you enjoy most about this opportunity? “It’s a win-win for everyone involved. If not for groups like Liga and Fiji 4 Sight, many of these patients would have to accept that they may never recover enough vision to return to the activities important to them. We are given the opportunity to help and we leave feeling an immense satisfaction for the work we do. Everyone wins!”
What surprises you about these communities you are helping? “At first the realization that the need is so much bigger than expected. But, by the time we are done with patient evaluations and surgery and we are preparing to return home, what strikes me most is the degree of appreciation from the people whose lives we have touched. In fact, they are often surprised that a committed group of volunteers have left behind their own work places, families and friends, have travelled for hours to offer their services free of charge. I have seen plenty of tears from both the patients and volunteers at the end of these trips.”
Even with Dr. Meallet’s busy ophthalmology practice in Burbank, he enjoys taking the time to visit different areas of the world, helping these people in need and saving their eyesight.