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UM Bascom Palmer’s Vision Van Headed To Japan

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The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute's Vision Van is being sent to Japan to be used in relief efforts.  (Source: Bascom Palmer Eye Institute)

The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s Vision Van is being sent to Japan to be used in relief efforts. (Source: Bascom Palmer Eye Institute)

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MIAMI (CBS4) – The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is getting involved in helping those in the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged northeastern region of Japan.

On Monday the organization’s Vision Van will be loaded onto a plane at Miami International Airport for a trip to the city of Sendai.

Once it arrives ophthalmologists from Keio University and trained volunteers will use it to offer emergency vision screenings and treatments for those who suffered eye injuries during or after the earthquake and infections and inflammations from contaminated water.

They will also replace eyeglasses for those people who lost them while fleeing the earthquake. The van, a 40-foot converted bus which has three screening stations, an examination room and state of the art equipment, has been stocked with over a thousand ready-made lenses donated by Eye Care Centers of America.

“I really appreciate Bascom Palmers support for the healing of Japan. I went with my team to Northeastern Japan last week to assess the damage and find ways to help the survivors with their ocular needs. I knew, just as you have seen on the news, that many towns had been destroyed. But when I was there I was so shocked that it brought me to tears. From the bottom of my heart I feel that I want to help,” said Dr. Kazuo Tsubota, Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology of the Keio University School of Medicine.

The Vision Van, which also provided emergency eye care services in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, is expected to be in Japan for three months.

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