Your Commitment in 2021 Has Made the Difference | ASCRS
Foundation News

Your Commitment in 2021 Has Made the Difference



“Immediately seeing my doctor's face was a great feeling and then my children came in and I could see their faces too. Now, I am able to get around the house independently. I can do the things that I loved to do before, like cooking, reading and even watching the news. I still can't believe things changed for my me. I am very happy.” – Balchisu, Operation Sight Patient

Notes from Operation Sight patients like Balchisu are received by the ASCRS Foundation every day. They remind us of how critical sight is for independence and stability, and the sheer joy that comes with renewed vision.

2021 has been a time of unprecedented challenge for the ASCRS Foundation. The number of patients in need applying through our Operation Sight web portal has exploded. It’s not uncommon to receive 30 new applications overnight. Our team vets them all, determines eligibility, and works to place those who meet our criteria with volunteer surgeons in their local area. Nearly 1,100 free surgeries were placed during the first eleven months of 2021, and the demand show no signs of slowing.

Over 702 registered Operation Sight volunteers have now delivered more than 6,600 charitable surgeries. To them, I hope you see yourself in Balchisu’s letter. Your steadfast commitment in a time of great uncertainty illustrates ophthalmology’s resilience and willingness to share its incredible benefits with those less fortunate.

Internationally, the Foundation’s focus remains infrastructure building and resident training. In 2021, ASCRS Foundation grant funds purchased laptops and equipment for each of the six Ethiopian residency programs to enable each institution to develop, record, and distribute remote e-learning opportunities in both the wet lab and classroom settings.

Nearly 40 residents took part in this year’s foundation-organized board review course. Our International Medical Liaison, Barbara Erny MD, led the effort to recruit instructors and live-stream the lectures, and to later make the content available to others via Orbis’ CyberSight platform.

In addition to e-learning improvements the foundation has improved communication between the six programs, established a resident cataract surgical rotation at its Robert Sinskey Eye Institute in Addis Ababa, fostered subspeciality clinical exchanges between programs, and through a generous grant from ZEISS, supplied needed clinical equipment to each training institution.

This past August saw ASCRS return to live gatherings with the 2021 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. The Opening General Session featured the presentation of the ASCRS Foundation Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award to Himalayan Cataract Project co-founders Geoff Tabin MD and Sanduk Ruit, MD. The $100,000 prize that accompanied the award will aid HCP with their ongoing international cataract blindness initiatives.

The Foundation also presented six Young Eye Surgeon International Service Grant awards to a diverse group of high-achieving young ophthalmologists. The YISG award was created to inspire surgeons to engage with global eyecare on a long-term basis. Working with the ASCRS Foundation and its global partners, awardees develop customized plans that provide the opportunity to learn the intricacies of global eyecare efforts and to participate first-hand.

The ASCRS Foundation was pleased to highlight some of the accomplished ophthalmic humanitarians nominated for the Foundation's Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award. These outstanding leaders were interviewed by the Foundation's 2020 Young Eye Surgeon International Service Grantees in a new video series. We were honored to share this new video series spotlighting these global changemakers.

All of this has been possible through your support. You’ve enabled our many patients to experience joy, independence, and stability at a time when these things are in short supply. Thank you for your belief in the mission and for standing with us as we look with optimism to the future.


The ASCRS Foundation 


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