Jamaica Outreach Program

You have improved your vision with cataract surgery at our Naples, Bonita Springs, or Fort Myers locations.  I am confident that you will appreciate the clarity that this procedure adds to your world and, subsequently, enjoy an enhanced lifestyle.  Unfortunately, not everyone can benefit from modern cataract surgery and experience better vision due to limited financial resources, or due to the fact that they do not live in a country where government programs, like Medicare or private insurance companies, cover the costs associated with the procedure.  Jamaica is such a country, extremely harsh economic conditions coupled with a poorly run national healthcare program make cataract surgery an almost impossible dream for most Jamaicans. The waiting list for cataract surgery through the Jamaican healthcare system is years long, and once patients qualify for the surgery, the procedure can be delayed indefinitely due to restrictions imposed by the government on funding.

All Saints Eye Center, in conjunction with the Jamaican Outreach Program (JOP), has established an independent cataract surgery mission where poor Jamaicans can receive surgery quickly and with no expense.  Funds for the surgery are paid through donations and 100% of the proceeds go directly to restoring the sight of the impoverished in Jamaica. The cost of a cataract operation in Kingston is approximately $1500 US dollars.

Would you consider making a donation to the less fortunate in a third world country?  A contribution of any amount would be greatly appreciated and is tax deductible.

Thank you for your time in considering this worthy cause.  Further information on the JOP can be obtained by visiting www.jamaicaoutreach.org.

Sincerely and thank you,

Jeffrey L. Zimm, M.D.

The Jamaica Outreach Program (JOP) was established in the mid 1990's largely through the efforts of several parishioners at the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Naples, Florida. These individuals had a desire to help the less fortunate in an underdeveloped country.

Serendipitously, while on vacation in Jamaica, a parishioner stumbled upon St. Pius X Catholic Church, a poor, struggling parish in the heart of a Kingston ghetto.

After much communication between the two organizations, a "sister" parish agreement was established. Support from St. Johns began with the establishment of a primary care and ophthalmic clinic, giving financial support, and sending food supplies.

Dr. Zimm became involved and traveled to Jamaica for the first time in 2004. During that visit, he examined and performed cataract surgery on the indigent as well as assessed the status of the eye clinic. The facility was in great need of equipment and the parishioners of St. John’s responded with donations to bring the eye clinic to a state-of-the-art facility. In addition, a full service optical shop was built to supply glasses to the poor.

Several years ago, another large donation was made to the JOP which was used to build a dental clinic adjacent the existing complex.

Due to the generosity of the people of St. John’s Catholic Church and others who have donated their time and effort, the JOP has developed into a consistent medical and financial resource for St. Pius. Without St. John’s help, the Jamaican parish would have undoubtedly closed. Primary care doctors and a dental team visits the clinic numerous times a year.

Dr. Zimm is the director of the eye clinic, supervising all aspects of the operation. Eye care missions occur four times a year with each trip headed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist, plus an optician and several technicians. The eye care team examines patients for glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye diseases, as well as providing routine eye exams and dispensing eyeglasses. While Cataract surgery is currently performed in Kingston, more complex surgical cases such as corneal transplants, glaucoma implants, lasers for diabetic retinopathy, etc. are brought to Naples.

Interested in becoming involved?  You don't have to have formal training to help, just the desire to aid those in need. If you are interested in participating please contact Alison, the JOP Eye Care Coordinator at 239-592-5511. We are always looking for individuals who want to "give back" and serve others. We guarantee it will a very gratifying experience, one that you will never forget and we know that your first visit will not be your last.

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