This chapter has been written as a reference for US military ophthalmologists wishing to lead or participate in US military-affiliated ophthalmic surgical missions. Many ophthalmologists choose the specialty with a strong desire to participate in ophthalmic surgical missions abroad. This has been found to be especially true among US Army, Air Force, and Navy ophthalmologists. Due to an overwhelming worldwide epidemic of blinding and largely curable cataract blindness in the developing world, ophthalmology as a specialty is uniquely positioned to meet this burgeoning humanitarian need, thereby giving US military ophthalmologists a potentially important role to play in meeting this need while providing real-world training. Doctrinally, the primary purpose of any Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) has always been and still remains the training of US military personnel. It is thus vital for military ophthalmologists wishing to plan and lead an ophthalmic surgical MEDRETE to focus primarily on the unique training value for all mission participants when communicating with other stakeholders during the planning stages. It is hoped that this chapter will encourage US military ophthalmologists to accept the many challenges and many rewards of leading a mission.
KeywordsHumanitarian missions Military ophthalmologist Surgical missions
The author of this chapter would like to give special thanks to Steve Waller, MD; Jane Ward, MD; Bill Wilson, MD; Richard Townley, MD; John Thordsen, MD; and Keith Dahlhauser, MD.
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