Eye Surgeons Cast Vision of Hope with New Microscope – Asbury University
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Eye Surgeons Cast Vision of Hope with New Microscope

November 22, 2022

On November 17, Sam Powdrill and Dr. Stan Pletcher from EyeMobil Innovations spoke to the Asbury community about their new EPIC II Operating Microscope, which provides ophthalmologists with a portable microscope that makes the cure to cataract blindness accessible to the most remote parts of the globe. This conversation about science, mission, and business happened in the Luce Auditorium in the Walt and Rowena Shaw Collaborative Learning Center (Shaw CLC).

“I spent most of October in South Sudan and in West Africa doing cataract surgeries in rural areas where there are not ophthalmologists to help people with dense cataracts,” Powdrill said. “It’s amazing to see God use the work with the microscope as a catalyst for ministry to those who need to hear the message of Jesus.”

The EPIC II Operating Microscope’s innovative design optimizes portability and offers improved ergonomics, stability, enhanced red reflex, and more. The bladder portion (filled with water at the base of the microscope) offers stability for ophthalmologists during surgeries. Learn more here: https://www.eyemobil.com/products/EPIC-II-Operating-Microscope-p130016673.

Powdrill is a physician associate and professor at the University of Kentucky. A local to Wilmore, he travels extensively for missions. Founding an eye clinic at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya in 1991, he later built a full-fledged surgical unit with male and female units. At that time, he was the only individual conducting eye care for approximately one million people. Powdrill did cataract surgical training at the Kenya Medical Training College and operated about 1,000 cataracts annually in the surgical unit and in outlying remote areas.

Missions and the blind people in remote areas remained on his heart even after becoming a professor at the University of Kentucky. As he had completed surgeries many times in isolated places, Powdrill started dreaming of a microscope with which he could travel to these places. His goals were: a microscope to fit into one suitcase within weight limits for the airlines, a microscope that had an LED lighting system with extended periods of usage on a battery, and a microscope that African surgeons could afford to buy. These ideas were the beginning of a company that is now EyeMobil Innovations.  

Dr. Stan Pletcher (who spoke virtually at the Microscopes for Missions event) is a full-time ophthalmologist in Michigan who has been involved in mission work around the world. His first job after ophthalmology training was in the Appalachian Mountains in Harlan, Ky. In 2006, he started Mission Eyes Network and Global Sight Alliance which helps Christian ophthalmologists find trips, equipment and information on how to do eye missions. These contacts have been instrumental in enabling Pletcher to manage the marketing and business side of EyeMobil as the company has been growing. He conducts eye surgeries annually in Ecuador where he served as a full-time missionary with his family of six from 2010-2012. Pletcher is on the board of Vision Outreach International, is involved with the Christian Ophthalmology Society, as a recent president, and he presides over Global Sight Alliance.

“Asbury has a special place in my heart, because my children went here,” Powdrill said. “I encourage young people interested in science, mission, and business to learn practical skills but also to travel when they are young. You don’t have to wait until you retire to do mission work.”