TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Most Americans have access to vision care when they need it, but in some countries, they have little to no vision care at all.
Dr. Glenn Strauss left his own successful practice in Tyler to help bring the gift of sight to people who otherwise wouldn’t have it.
Strauss is an ophthalmologist who – since 2004 – has worked full time for free. He volunteers his services with Mercy Ships, an international organization that provides healthcare for the world’s poorest countries.
"Mercy Ships became the gateway for us to access these opportunities. They’re set up in a way that allows volunteers to use what they’re best at. To serve,” says Strauss.
“The platform is this enormous, awesome ship. You’re joined by a crew of 30 other countries or so, about 300-400 people on average, that are working in these countries that are really in need of medical care. They provide a pathway for people to serve and give."
Giving is what keeps Strauss and his wife going. He and Kim have gone to 35 countries on volunteer medical trips; most recently, Cameroon.
Strauss specializes in pediatric cataract surgery and provides services for up to 40 children per trip, some as young as two years old. His favorite part of each trip is gathering the children together for a celebration of sight.
"There’s nothing like blowing up balloons and seeing little kids that couldn’t see at all – they look flat when they can’t see, there’s no personality there. But it’s like when you take the cataracts off, it lights their life, it just lights up their life.
The change in quality of life is Strauss' reward.
“They not only can see but they become a person. It’s almost like you see them become a person. So, you know how fun it is to watch kids run around? Now think about those kids, those were kids that couldn’t see just a few weeks ago."