450-688-9060 #281 irismundial-info@iris.ca

One-time project

2008 - Cajamarca, Peru

Cajamarca, Peru


  • 2514 eye examinations
  • 54 ocular surgeries
  • 35 plastic surgeries
  • 200 dermatology consultations
  • 89 general medical consultations


  • Vision sin Fronteras
  • DIRESA Cajamarca

Humanitarian Mission in Cajamarca, Peru

By Richard Wilson, Treasurer and volunteer, IRIS Mundial

María Luisa saw for the first time in her life last November. The seven year-old Peruvian had an operation to remove congenital cataracts at the age of one. The emotion she felt was matched only by Manon Pelletier, Optician, who just found, in the IRIS Mundial glass bank, two pairs of glasses, including sunglasses, with a +24,00 D prescription. This event as well as the donation of a nice pair of glasses to a 48 year-old woman extremely nearsighted who had lost her eyeglasses four years ago were some of the powerful moments during the last IRIS Mundial mission.

This 8th mission of IRIS Mundial in Peru took place from November 3 to 15, 2008 at the Cajamarca Regional Hospital, in a city nestled on the high plateaus of the Andes Cordillera in Northern Peru, at an altitude of 2700 meters. Its population of 200,000 souls is almost totally native or mixed. It’s in Cajamarca that the Inca Emperor Atahualpa was held prisoner and executed by the Spanish Governor Pizarro in the 16th century.

Achieved Objectives
This mission, once more led by Dr. Jean-Pierre Tchang, Optometrist, had 30 Canadian volunteers: Optometrists, Opticians, Ophthalmologists, several Nurses, a Physician, some Dermatologists, a Plastic Surgeon and other volunteers in charge of the logistics. All of our objectives were achieved. In fact, the team examined the eyes of more than 2500 Peruvians among the most poverty-stricken population of the region, performed 54 ocular surgical procedures and 35 plastic surgical procedures, treated more than 200 patients in dermatology and examined 89 patients in general

practice. Of course, these services were provided free of charge to the patients, including prescribing eyeglasses and medications, as needed. Sunglasses and artificial tears were also supplied.

The members of the mission worked long hours, sometimes under hard conditions, but the recognition from the people we examined confirms that we are meeting the basic requirements of the population who needs it the most.

Reinforcement of local capabilities
Thanks to the cooperation of six Peruvian Ophthalmologists and several native volunteers, we had the opportunity to reinforce the local capabilities on both equipment and expertise and on the way we do things. This was the most significant goal of the mission. Moreover, IRIS Mundial donated various surgical and optometric equipment as well as several thousand glasses to allow Visión sin Fronteras, a Peruvian organization supported by IRIS Mundial, to organize its own missions and provide quality eyeglasses free of charge. Besides, Visión sin Fronteras was responsible for the organization of this mission, in which the General Health Branch of the Department of Cajamarca, the Cajamarca Regional Hospital, the Canadian Embassy in Peru, the Peru General Consulate in Montréal and several other local organizations also participated, such as the Table de concertation de la lutte contre la pauvreté (Coalition Against Poverty) and Caritas del Perú.

To conclude, we want to highlight an event which happened at the very end of our last day. Dr. Normand Houle, Plastic Surgeon, proceeded with an emergency surgery on a Cajamarca policeman who received an explosive bullet in his arm and was injured in the face. These missions are all very unexpected.

Our donators and volunteers
The success of the IRIS Mundial projects lies upon the contribution of several people, companies and organizations providing money, time, glasses, frames, lenses, drops, medications, devices, etc. We take this opportunity to sincerely thank them. We would especially like to underline the special help provided by IRIS Stores in Canada, Alcon Canada, Collaboration Santé Internationale (CSI), Essilor Canada, COS, Marchon, INNOVA Medical Ophthalmics and others.

These are the volunteers who contributed to make this mission a success:

  • Ophthalmologists : Jacques Samson (Lévis), Gilles Lafond (Québec), Pierre Duguay (Québec)
  • Optometrists : Francine Lavallée (Blainville), Jean-François Joly (Joliette), Pierre Martin (Les Coteaux), Jean-Pierre Paradis (Lac Mégantic), Jean-Pierre Tchang (St-Pamphile)
  • Opticians : Manon Pelletier (Montréal), Élisabeth Duncan (Gatineau)
  • Physicians : Lyne Paré (St-Pamphile)
  • Dermatologists : Dominique Friedmann (St-Lambert), Benoît Côté (Westmount)
  • Plastic Surgeon : Normand Houle (Lévis)
  • Nurses and operating room personnel : Andrée Coulombe (Québec), Louise Leblanc (Lac Mégantic), Élise Lacombe (Lac Mégantic), Myriam Élie (Montréal), Nathalie Jutras (Québec), Dominique Carrier (Lévis), Rachel Lapierre (Piedmont), Marie-Claude Cossette (Québec), Johanne de Champlain (Montréal), Pierre St-Denis (Québec)
  • Other volunteers : Gérald Bourgault (St-Pamphile), Sylvain Tchang (Montréal), René-Paul Lacombe (Lac Mégantic), Michelle Taschereau (Gatineau), Richard Perron (Gatineau), Giuliana Miranda Casas (Trujillo, Pérou), Nancy Alamo de Paz (Huaraz, Pérou), Richard Wilson (Montréal)

Volunteers of Visión sin Fronteras (Lima, Peru):

  • Ophthalmologists : Rosario Espinoza, Lena Li, Francisco Roman, Luis Arevalo, Max Calderon, Fernando Silva (Cajamarca)
  • Other volunteers : Carmen Lopez, Juan Francisco Roman
Photo gallery