The ASCRS Foundation is pleased to announce the formation of National Sight Week (October 24–28).
National Sight Week is a weeklong celebration of volunteerism, during which members of the ASCRS Operation Sight network are encouraged to contribute one or more charitable cataract surgeries in their own communities. The ASCRS Foundation will support the effort by providing a financial stipend for each surgery completed—and will mount a national and local media campaign to highlight the work done by Operation Sight volunteer surgeons in their local communities.
Operation Sight is the ASCRS Foundation’s domestic charitable cataract surgery program. Its mission is to eliminate treatable cataract blindness in the United States. By leveraging the combined strength of established charitable organizations and ASCRS-member volunteer surgeons, Operation Sight provides needed care to those unable to access or afford surgery. In 2015, Operation Sight also began offering free LASIK procedures to wounded American Veterans.
Stephen Lane, MD co-chair of the ASCRS Foundation and director of the Operation Sight initiative, explains: “We’ve all seen the heartbreaking photos of cataract blinded patients in the developing world, but many forget that there is a similar need right here at home. Although they often go unnoticed, many poor Americans still fall outside the traditional safety nets. The future is especially bleak for cataract patients who lack private insurance and are not eligible for government care.”
In an effort to broaden the growing Operation Sight network and address a backlog of indigent and/or uninsured cataract patients across the United States, the ASCRS Foundation is encouraging surgeons to join Operation Sight and is helping to match them with those patients.
“The ASCRS Foundation’s Operation Sight initiative offers a solution for Americans in need by enabling ASCRS eye surgeon members to perform charitable cataract surgeries in their own communities with administrative and financial support from the ASCRS Foundation and ophthalmic industry leaders, enhancing efforts to end preventable cataract blindness in the United States,” says Dr. Lane.