Our Work in the United States
Operation Sight, the ASCRS Foundation’s U.S. based charitable cataract surgery program, was launched in 2014 to serve financially vulnerable, uninsured Americans who cannot afford or access care. These members of our own communities often rely on others to complete daily tasks, and if left untreated, risk debilitating vision loss. To date, Operation Sight has delivered more than 5,000 surgeries through a nationwide network of volunteer surgeons committed to caring for those who could not otherwise afford life-changing surgery.
Patient Qualification Process
For more detailed information, please visit our Patient Frequently Asked Questions.
- Patient Inquiry Form: The inquiry form is the first step of the screening process to determine patient eligibility. Once you submit your inquiry form, you will be contacted within 7-10 business days via email regarding your eligibility.
- Patient Application: If your information meets the requirements, you will be asked to complete a more detailed application and provide additional documentation. You will be contacted within 7-10 business days after your complete application has been submitted and reviewed.
- Acceptance: If approved, we do our best to match you with an Operation Sight volunteer in your area. Acceptance to Operation Sight does not guarantee surgery and there is no set timeframe for when an approved applicant will receive surgery. We strive to provide accessible care in the home communities of eligible patients.
Here are the qualifications you need to meet to be eligible for the Operation Sight Program:
- Must be at or below the 200% of the Federal Poverty Level defined by the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Documentation of household income and dependents must be provided.
- Must be uninsured or underinsured where insurance does not cover cataract surgery. Patients who receive Medicare Part B are ineligible. The program does not pay or assist with copays.
- Must have a formal cataract diagnosis where cataract surgery has been deemed medically necessary.
- Must permanently reside in the United States. Applicants who are temporarily visiting do not qualify for the program.
Patient Story: Restoring Hope, Pride and Confidence
Kimberly found herself trapped in a vicious cycle. Unemployed when her declining eyesight affected her job performance, she had also lost her insurance coverage. And without coverage she couldn’t afford the care needed to find another job. And around again. Determined to do something, Kimberly used a credit card to pay for eye exam. Sitting in the darkened room, she couldn’t read any of the stark black letters on the white chart. Everything was blurry. Kimberly’s doctor informed that her eyesight had worsened dramatically, and that corrective lenses wouldn’t solve her problem. She had cataracts in both eyes. There was no way Kimberly could afford cataract surgery. Straining to see was causing her severe headaches, and she now found it nearly impossible to complete the assignments required to earn her paralegal degree.
“I feared that without surgery, I would become completely unemployable. This terrified me, and I felt overwhelmed,” she said. But Kimberly didn’t give up and found Operation Sight. Kimberly completed a patient application, was found eligible, and was matched with Jeffrey Whiteman, MD, of the Key-Whitman Eye Center. Through the generosity of the volunteers at Key-Whitman and the support of the ASCRS Foundation, Kimberly had the cataract surgery she desperately needed – all at no cost to her.
She now feels things coming into focus – literally and figuratively. Her eyesight improves each day thanks to her “phenomenal miracle worker,” and Kimberly is back working towards her degree with plans to rejoin the workforce. Kimberly has a special message for ASCRS Foundation supporters: “You are saving and changing lives. You prevent blindness. You restore a sense of pride, confidence, and courage, as well as give hope where there was none to begin with.”
Volunteer with Operation Sight
Operation Sight is powered by a nationwide network of volunteer surgeons and their colleagues from ASCRS and other established organizations. Our volunteers are committed to caring for those who could not otherwise afford life-changing cataract surgery. Learn more about the Operation Sight volunteer experience, meet our volunteers and get involved today!Operation Sight Volunteer Information
This program could change my life and allow me to regain my independence. You are helping those who do not have the resources to help themselves.
Operation Sight Patient Awaiting Surgery, Harrison, TX
"You are helping the less fortunate to have a healthy and fulfilling life. It is a blessing to have others help those who are most in need."
OPERATION SIGHT PATIENT, Houston, TX
"The gift of sight is a wonderful thing. I know I'm going to appreciate my new-found eye sight if I'm lucky enough to be chosen."
OPERATION SIGHT PATIENT AWAITING SURGERY, reidsville, nD
Our Operation Sight Partners
We are thankful for the partnership of these organizations who help support Operation Sight. In addition to these organizations, we have hundreds of volunteers nationwide who make Operation Sight possible. Be sure to visit our volunteer list and to get involved!