Explore UAB

by Satina Richardson

Max McCloy worked alongside his father during spring break to provide needed eye and vision care in Jamaica. Douglas McCloy, OD, has provided sustainable missional eye and vision care there for more than two decades, but this was the first time the two worked together since Max began optometry school.

Max has volunteered at events like these countless times because his father is the executive director of Mission of Sight and has directed the clinical and surgical care for MOS’ in Jamaica since 2000. In the past, he has worked in patient intake, pre-testing, and scribing. He even helped build their first eye surgery center, the Gamertsfelder Mission Center in Frome, JA.

This was Max’s first time participating in surgery week as an optometry student. He joined optometry students from The Ohio State University’s Fellowship of Christian Optometrists chapter, and a group of volunteers from Vision Outreach International on this recent mission. 

The focus of the weeklong clinic was to perform cataract surgeries for patients identified with hypermature, traumatic, or cataracts that wouldn’t do well with the standard Phacoemulisification surgical technique. Student teams diagnosed and treated a full array of pathology including a full spectrum of glaucoma, cataracts, retinopathy, keratoconus and refractive errors.

This experience as an optometry student gave Max a better understanding of optometry in practice.

 “Much like my father, I have a heart for the eyecare (and healthcare more generally) of the Jamaican people who are so underserved in that regard,” he said. “My dad would tell me about everything he would see in clinic but as someone who wasn't in optometry school yet, I couldn't fully comprehend what he was talking about. But now as someone pursuing a career in optometry, I can now put a ‘face’ to the name of all the conditions he always talks about seeing.”

Several of Max’s classmates have expressed interest in traveling to Jamaica as an FCO mission trip as there are benefits to having the experience.

“The trMax McCloy caring for patients during spring break.ip grants perspective of the access to care that we have as Americans, yet we constantly complain about,” he said. “Most importantly it is a unique opportunity for us to serve people who are not being served with skills that we have the privilege of being able to share.”

Douglas appreciated the opportunity to have this experience with his son.

“It was more than special to be side by side with Max especially now that he is a year into training at UAB and able to impart his knowledge and skills into practical care with patients,” he said. “I loved every aspect of the time with him in clinic from seeing post-ops, to selecting IOL’s for surgery, and being a part of his patient care experience in the clinic.  It was more than I could ask or imagine on many levels.”

Max echoed his father’s sentiments and appreciated the impact that working together has on their relationship.

“The level of care he shows for his patients is what inspires me to become a great clinician in the way he is,” Max said. “He is not the only reason for my pursuit of optometry, but his example is without a doubt my major reason. I love my father and I love optometry, and our passion for the field has only brought us closer together.”