Spotlight on Operation Sight: Successful National Program Continues its Work
Operation Sight, an ASCRS Foundation national program, has delivered more than 1,100 free cataract surgeries to low-income Americans. The program will hold its second annual National Sight Week effort from October 16-20, 2017. The inaugural National Sight Week in October 2016 had a surge of more than 200 cataract surgeries from Operation Sight’s network of volunteer ASCRS member surgeons and practices. The event garnered numerous media mentions, including this video.
This past April, the Foundation’s partner practices, Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah, St. George Eye Center and The Eye Institute of Utah, also drew media attention for their Operation Sight work. The Moran Eye Center clusters their free cataract surgeries through Operation Sight around two days during the year, deemed Operation Sight Days by their staff.
But Operation Sight is a year-round program, providing surgeries every month to those in need. You can help right now—volunteers and donations are needed year-round to meet the demand of the current 120-person long waitlist. Domestic Initiatives Board Chair, Stephen Lane, MD, says that there is a real need for humanitarian eye care not just abroad, but also in our backyard.
“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,” Dr. Lane says. “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.”
Operation Sight volunteer surgeon Jeffrey Whitman, MD, of Dallas, TX, finds the patients’ reactions are what make it worthwhile: “Seeing the first smiles on their faces when you tell them you can help, and then seeing their faces light up again when they first read the letters on your wall with the improved vision—that is the most rewarding experience. Everybody wins when we do good for others!”