Sacramento Eye Surgeon Brings Vision to El Salvador

Sacramento, CA – The humanitarian act of cornea donation – a gift from a donor to recipient – went worldwide recently, with the help of Dr. Mark J. Mannis, Ocular Medical Director for Sierra Donor Services, and its parent company, DCI Donor Services, Inc. Mannis is also Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology & Vision Science and director of the Eye Center at UC Davis Health System.

Dr. Mannis traveled to San Salvador, El Salvador with two corneas recovered through Sierra Donor Services as well as corneas from other eye banks around the U.S.A., as part of the Flying Eye Hospital sponsored by ORBIS and FedEx Corp.

The Flying Eye Hospital is a specially outfitted DC-10 jet aircraft that allows local doctors, nurses and technicians to work alongside an international medical team to conduct sight-restoring surgeries and to exchange knowledge and improve skills. The mobile teaching hospital is a unique tool in the fight against preventable blindness in developing countries.

Dr. Mannis participated in a week long comprehensive skills exchange program aimed at strengthening the field of corneal surgery and raising awareness of eye care related conditions in El Salvador. In the four days of surgery on the Flying Eye Hospital, Mannis performed 11 corneal transplants and provided surgical instruction to his Salvadorian assistants.

In addition, he lectured on corneal surgery in the jetliner’s 48-seat classroom.

“Many talented and compassionate people were involved in helping to give the people of Central America the gift of sight,” Mannis said. “We are all working to fight treatable and preventable blindness around the globe. Through the Flying Eye Hospital Program, we offered skills-exchange opportunities to a wide range of eye health care professionals, while focusing on the development of pediatric ophthalmology, an area of great need in El Salvador.”

Mannis is a visionary leader and international authority on corneal transplantation and external diseases of the eye whose 30-year commitment to public service has tremendously advanced eye-banking and tissue-donation services and medical education in the United States and throughout the world, especially in Latin America. His efforts to increase the number of high-quality ocular tissues available for transplant, as well as the number of ophthalmologists and technicians trained in the latest corneal transplant and eye-banking methodologies, have enabled thousands of individuals with blinding eye diseases around the globe to receive the gift of sight.

About Dr. Mannis
Dr. Mark J. Mannis is a UC Davis Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Science and director of the UC Davis Health System Eye Center. He is a visionary leader and international authority on corneal transplantation and external diseases of the eye whose 30-year commitment to public service has tremendously advanced eye-banking and tissue-donation services as well as ophthalmic medical education in the United States and throughout the world, especially in Latin America. His efforts to increase the number of high-quality ocular tissues available for transplant, as well as the number of ophthalmologists and technicians trained in the latest corneal transplant and eye-banking methodologies, have enabled thousands of individuals with blinding eye diseases around the globe to receive the gift of sight. Under Dr. Mannis’ leadership, the UC Davis Eye Center has become one of the nation’s top academic centers that combines the very highest quality vision health care services with cutting-edge ophthalmic science for the treatment of all forms of medical and surgical eye disease. Dr. Mannis exemplifies UC Davis’ institutional commitment to combining academic excellence with social responsibility and leadership to transform health care.