Over the years, the focus of our organization has changed. Once our goal was to provide mass cataract surgeries, and now we work to establish comprehensive eye health care in the places where we work. As our priorities have shifted, so have our partners. Some partnerships have ended because our organizational goals no longer align. Some of these hospitals have become totally self-sufficient and no longer need foreign financial support, which is our end goal for all the projects we support.
Below are some of the projects and hospitals that our generous donors have supported over the years.
We began working in Africa in 1967, not long after our organization was founded. Since then, our donors have supported many hospitals and health projects, bringing sight restoration and blindness prevention to millions. We’ve always sought out the most responsible facilities who share our donors’ goals of ending avoidable blindness.
Malawi Blindness Prevention Cataract Surgery Program
Lower Shire, Chikwawa District, Malawi
Affiliated with Lions Sight First Eye Hospital and Blantyre Eye Hospital, the Cataract Surgery Program in the small African nation of Malawi began in 1990. Operation Eyesight funded the program in the Lower Shire, Chikwawa District, where we supported the training of vision technicians and a management training program for community eye health workers. We also provided support for an accredited refractionist training program, in collaboration with the University of Malawi and Eyes for Malawi, with the goal of facilitating the graduation of refractionists for Malawi and other sub-Saharan nations.
Nyeri District Hospital
Nyeri Zone, Kenya
Located in the Rift Valley region of central Kenya, Nyeri District Hospital provides outreach services to the Central Province and Laikipia District. In partnership with Kenya’s Ministry of Health, Operation Eyesight provided funds for mobile eye units, and supported eye care services and operating and maintenance costs.
Liberia Eye Care Program
We were introduced to the eye health issues in Liberia by Rev. Dr. Fred Bullen, then an honorary director of Operation Eyesight and a friend of Liberian President Hon. William Tolbert. We helped develop a country-wide eye care program that would include the provision of instruments and equipment, training doctors and other eye care personnel, and the provision of transportation for mobile care.
Unfortunately, a bloody revolution killed many government officials, including President Tolbert. Operation Eyesight trained four doctors and funded some equipment and a mobile eye unit in Liberia, but this was lost during a second revolution in 1989, led by Charles Taylor. We were forced to withdraw from Liberia.
Kanombe Military Hospital
Eastern Province, Rwanda
Rwanda has made progress in establishing eye care over recent years. We were proud to work with champions of eye care like Dr. John Nkurikiye and support Kanombe Military Hospital, where we completed construction of the new operating theatres. We’ve achieved the first phase of our goals in Rwanda, and consequently we will not be working in the country for the next period of time.
Our work in Africa is now focused on developing our approach to comprehensive, sustainable eye care in Kenya, Ghana and Zambia, and continuing our efforts eliminate trachoma in Kenya and Zambia.
Mukinge Mission Hospital
North-Western Province, Zambia
The lack of primary eye care workers and professionals is the main impediment to eye health in Zambia’s North-Western Province. It’s the country’s least developed area with poor roads often rendered impassible during the rainy season.
In 2007, we employed ophthalmologist Dr. Edith Pola to help train primary eye care workers and provide services at the district hospitals. Along with the hospital’s mobile services to two of the province’s districts, Dr. Pola worked with district hospitals to support their services.
Operation Eyesight’s involvement with Mukinge Mission Hospital ended in 2014, but our impact in the region will continue for many years to come.
After working in India for nearly 50 years, our donors have supported many hospitals and health projects, bringing sight restoration and blindness prevention to millions. In that time, we’ve always sought out the most responsible facilities who share our donors’ goals of ending avoidable blindness.
Bhosle Gopal Rao Patel Eye Centre, L V Prasad Eye Institute Adilabad,
Adilabad, the northern-most district of India’s recently-formed state of Telangana, has always been known for its poor socio-economic development and lack of basic eye health care facilities. Being at the receiving end for many unpredictable environmental factors such as severe drought and unseasonable rains and floods, the people of the district suffer throughout the year.
To address these issues, our partner L V Prasad Eye Institute established one of its secondary eye care centres, Bhosle Gopal Rao Patel Eye Centre, in the town of Adilabad.
Operation Eyesight is now working with the eye centre on a HBCEHP that reaches almost 50 villages and provides basic eye health care to almost 45,000 people. The goal of the program is to eliminate avoidable blindness by providing screenings to people at high risk of eye problems, and linking them to government facilities.
Garnett Memorial Eye Hospital
Mettupalayam, Tamil Nadu State
Our partnership with Garnet Memorial Eye Hospital ended in 2012. By strongly influencing the eye health-seeking behaviour in these communities, the program significantly contributed to the prevention of avoidable blindness in this region. Integrating primary eye care into primary health services also means that the community has a long-term model for controlling avoidable blindness. The Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program gave more people access to quality eye care and helped develop a system that will be available to the community for years to come.
Kanhirapuzha Eye Unit at Assumption Hospital
Palakkad District, Kerala State
A department of the Assumption Hospital, the Assumption Eye Unit is a secondary care centre located in Kanhirapuzha village in the interior of Kerala state.
After becoming an Operation Eyesight partner since 1999, the hospital received extensive support to build the capacities of its medical and para-medical staff, upgrade equipment and strengthen its eye care services. The Hospital-Based Community Eye Health project, run with support from our generous donors, has helped the hospital provide services to the vulnerable.
Maya Dass Shiv Dass Rotary Eye Hospital
Kullu, Himachal Pradesh State
As a small hospital catering to a large and widely-dispersed population, Maya Dass Shiv Dass Rotary Eye Hospital is making the transition from charitable recipient to self-sufficiency since becoming an Operation Eyesight partner in 2004.
In 2011, Operation Eyesight and Maya Dass began a four-year HBCEHP to better serve the 100,000 people living in Anni and Nirmand Tehsil divisions. The program will bring eye health care to communities and help integrate primary eye care into primary health care.
Rasoolpura Urban Slum Project
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh State
In 2006, Operation Eyesight began a community development program in India’s sixth largest city, Hyderabad. About 2.8 million people – more than half of the city’s population – live in Hyderabad’s more than 1,600 slums. Most of the residents fall below the poverty line and do not have access to medical or eye care services.
The objective of the Rasoolpura Urban Slum Project is not to eliminate the slum so much as it is to encourage its residents to assume responsibility for their own welfare. Community development teams work closely with neighbourhood leaders to improve health, basic infrastructure and the quality of life for those who must live in the slums.
Operation Eyesight’s financial contributions to Rasoolpura Urban Slum Project wrapped up in 2012, and our donors should be proud of the work that’s been done to improve the lives of the people who live there.
Seeing is Believing Urban Slum Projects
Fatehnagar Slum, Hyderabad and Shahabad Dairy Slum, New Delhi
Since 2008, Seeing is Believing has generously supported Hyderabad’s Fatehnagar and New Delhi’s Shahabad Dairy urban slum projects. They both offer comprehensive eye care and community development programs that improve the quality of life and give the gift of sight to the slum’s residents – regardless of their ability to pay.
Operation Eyesight’s financial involvement in the Seeing is Believing Urban Slum Projects has now ended.
St. Joseph’s Hospital
Kothamangalam, Kerala State
We worked with St. Joseph’s to deliver a Hospital-Based Community Eye Health project to the approximately 60,000 people of Kuttampuzha Panchayat. It’s a central area in Kerala State made up of about 85 villages. Its residents face many challenges like poor immunization, severe malnutrition among children and pregnant mothers, communicable diseases and water scarcity in the summer season.
Our goal was to create a model that enables community members to serve their own community while preventing and treating avoidable blindness for years to come. Our partnership with St. Joseph’s ended in 2012.
Arpana Research and Charities Trust
Madhuban, Haryana State
The Arpana Research and Charities Trust is involved in many development projects in the state of Haryana. It has also established several health care services, including an eye care program located in the service wing of local ashram, or “places of devotion” for Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims.
The Trust also created an outreach program. In 1993, they were awarded the Saskawa Health Prize by the World Health Organization, recognizing their outstanding quality of their work. Operation Eyesight’s donors contributed to the construction of the facility and also funded equipment, medicine and instruments.
Bangalore Eye Hospital
Bangalore, Karnataka State
In 1986, the Bangalore West Lions Club began to organize a small eye care centre and outreach program to serve the citizens of south-eastern Karnataka, a state with a population of 60 million. Funds raised by the Lions in India and Germany financed the construction of a small eye hospital.
We started funding this program in 1989 in response to a proposal from the hospital trust. We helped the Lions develop their hospital program and assisted with the development of the eye care program at the satellite clinic in Holenarsipura. Funds from our donors supported the school screening program and purchased needed equipment and surgical instruments.
Bhubaneswar, L V Prasad Eye Institute
Bubaneswar, Odisha State
A tertiary-level hospital, this L V Prasad facility is a fully equipped, modern eye health centre. It offers training for eye care professionals, a program for rehabilitation for the incurably blind and visually impaired, and a community eye care program which covers underserved areas in the coastal state of Odisha. The hospital serves about a million people through an urban conglomeration made up of the cities of Cuttack, Khurda, Choudwar and Jadatpur.
The hospital became Operation Eyesight’s partner in 2006. It also has specialty clinics and medical units specializing in corneas, cataracts, retinas, glaucoma, pediatric ophthalmology, and facilities for contact lenses and prosthetics.
Gandhi Eye Hospital Trust
Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh State
Located south of New Delhi, the Gandhi Eye Hospital is India’s second largest eye hospital. Founded in 1928 by the late Dr. Mohan Lal, the facility has an extensive outreach program. The hospital became an Operation Eyesight partner in 1978 and was home to the “Jenkyns Village Project,” which covered roughly 50 villages located around Palirazapur. Its goal was to provide total, sustainable eye care. Unfortunately, the death of Dr. R.B.L Gupta in 1992 severely hampered the effectiveness of the “Jenkyns Village Project.” Operation Eyesight also funded surgical eye camps, and the operating theatre at the hospital was funded as a special project of the Sunday Schools of the Protestant Chapels of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Gujarat Blind Relief and Health Association
Gujarat, Kheda District
Inspired by the late Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. R.R. Doshi set about creating an eye care program to serve the poor and needy in the state of Gujarat. The result was the Gujarat Blind Relief and Health Association, a preventative eye care program with a special emphasis on the needs of children. In 1978, our donors began supporting the children’s eye care program and a vitamin A supplementation campaign. With donor support, we also provided funds for equipment, instruments and medicines, and outreach camps, and we subsidized operations.
Indore Eye Hospital
Indore, Madhya Pradesh State
Madhya Pradesh’s largest city, Indore, has a population of some 1.5 million people. Indore Eye Hospital, which became an Operation Eyesight partner in 1994, serves the city and also brings medical care to people living in the state’s remote eastern areas. The hospital provides eye exams, surgical counseling, refraction services, prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses, cataract surgery, and glaucoma diagnosis, treatment and surgery. It also offers community ophthalmology, including school screenings, community outreach and awareness programs.
Jaipur/Calgary Charitable Hospital
Jaipur, Rajasthan State
The Jaipur/Calgary Charitable Eye Hospital grew naturally out of the relationship between Operation Eyesight and the World City Society. For several years, various clubs and groups in Jaipur discussed establishing charitable eye care facilities, until in 1981 Operation Eyesight facilitated these groups to jointly create a charitable eye hospital. After a trust was established and the hospital was founded, Operation Eyesight assisted by purchasing equipment and instruments, funding eye camps and subsidizing eye operations.
Kabliji Medical Centre
In 1977, Dr. Patwant Singh approached Operation Eyesight, seeking funding to add an eye care unit to his medical facility in memory of his uncle and aunt. An eye ward was built and an outreach program begun, thanks to Operation Eyesight’s donors. We continued to support their eye care program and to supply equipment and instruments in support of Kabliji’s school screenings and eye camps.
Kameshwari Priya Poor Homes
Originally an orphanage located in the old palace of the Maharani of Darbhanga, in 1989 we helped establish an expanded eye hospital in this shelter for the poor. The operating block and out-patient department building were provided by a generous donor in memory of her husband. Additional funding from Operation Eyesight donors allowed for the purchase of a vehicle for outreach, specialized equipment and operating instruments, as well as renovation of the in-patient ward following an earthquake.
Kasturba Kushta Nivaran Nilayam
South Arcot District, Tamil Nadu State
The Kasturba Kushta Nivaran Nilayam organization has its roots in India’s struggle for independence. At the time, one of the most serious issues facing Mahatma Gandhi was the lack of an adequate health care system throughout his country. The Mahatma decided to ask one of his closest friends, Prof. T.N. Jagadisan, to develop a leprosy program for the South Arcot District of Tamil Nadu.
When Prof. Jagadisan started his leprosy control program in 1947, thousands of people were contracting the dreaded diseases annually. By 1985, the incidence of new leprosy cases had dropped to 0.5 per thousand because of the work that Jagadisan had done. His leprosy control infrastructure was so successful that, in 1985, it was decided that his system could be adapted to help the large number of curably blind in that part of Tamil Nadu.
Operation Eyesight became involved that year, when our donors funded the construction of a large eye care ward. Working together with the Canadian International Development Agency, we funded an annual surgical camp, screening camps and a family health nutrition program.
Lions Club of Shreeramnagar Eye Hospital
Garividi Village, Andhra Pradesh State
Created to provide year-round eye care in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the Lions Eye Hospital was supported by Ferro Alloys Corporation Ltd. and Operation Eyesight for 23 years. Constructed with spacious outpatient and inpatient areas, there’s also an operational room complex and staff quarters on campus. The hospital provides care for thousands in the plains and hills of the Eastern Ghats mountain range.
As with many Indian hospitals, outreach is an important part of their mission. Diagnostic treatment education clinics provide eye exams, treat infections and identify patients for surgery. This is combined with a regular series of school screenings. The outreach program also includes family education sessions which educate and promote healthier lifestyles and improved living conditions.
Lok Kalyan Samiti
Every wonderful journey begins with one tiny step. Such is the case of the Lok Kalyan Samiti organization, which was formed in 1952 when 12 people donated one rupee each. This small amount eventually grew enough to allow the construction of a 200-bed hospital! Lok Kalyan Samiti decided to fight blindness through the region by getting involved with existing general mobile health care units, allowing the poorest of the poor to receive eye care.
In 1979, Operation Eyesight’s donors provided supplementary funds to run eye camps. We also helped the organization construct a seven-story eye hospital at the main clinic at Sucheta Bhavan in New Delhi.
MGM Miki Memorial Trust Eye Institute
Raipur, Chhattisgarh State
When we began working with Miki Memorial Trust, there were no high-level eye health services for the more than 500,000 people who live in Raipur. This meant that for issues like glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology and ocular oncology, people had to travel over 1,000 kilometres to a facility like L V Prasad Eye Institute, an impossibility for many.
Miki Memorial Trust Eye Institute fills that gap, reaching out into the tribal hinterland that makes up much of Chhattisgarh State. The Institute pays special attention to the large numbers of children affected by blindness. We supported the establishment of the facility, which is now fully constructed and equipped.
Palampur Rotary Eye Foundation
Kangra District, Himachul Pradesh State
Located in a tribal area where some 60 percent of the population depends on farming, the Palampur Rotary Eye Foundation is a referral centre for the northern part of Himachal Pradesh, including the districts of Chamba, Kangra, Hamkirpur, Bilaspur and Mandi. The hospital provides quality diagnosis and treatment for issues such as glaucoma and retina problems. The hilly topography of the area makes communication and transport difficult, which necessitated an eye care facility. Operation Eyesight’s donors began supporting Palampur Rotary Eye Foundation in 1986.
Pune Urban Slum
Pune, Maharashtra State
In 2004, Operation Eyesight began supporting a community development project in Pune to improve the quality of life for the residents of India’s eighth-largest urban metropolis. The income of many of the city’s residents falls below the poverty line, and they have no access to medical or eye care. Pune suffers from widespread poverty, a poor public health system, and low civic and educational standards.
The community development project provided slum-based eye care services which included community engagements, needs assessments, the training of health care workers, adult education programs, screening services, immunization programs and nutritional supplementation. Our donors also supported surgeries, contributed equipment and computer technology, and supported community eye care.
Rajan Memorial Eye Hospital and Ophthalmic Institute Trust
Jalandhar City, Punjab State
In 1977, the Rajan Memorial Eye Hospital was founded by the Trust in memory of Rajan, the 18-year-old son of Dr. B.K. Nayyar, who was chairman of the Trust. Rajan had recently died of leukemia. Through both the hospital and an outreach program, this eye care program serves the desperately poor in the agricultural area of Punjab.
Operation Eyesight’s donors contributed to the construction of the hospital, and provided funds for several mobile eye units, equipment and instruments. After a flood damaged the institution in 1985, we approached the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) for funds to help restore the hospital. A $100,000 grant from the CCIC’s Relief and Rehabilitation Fund was used to replace damaged equipment, rebuild the in-patient ward and relocate the operating theatre to the second floor.
Rotary Sundar Lal Eye Hospital
Chandausi, Uttar Pradesh State
The only hospital within 100 km of Chandausi, the local Rotary Club established Sundar Lal in 1985, and is still active in managing and running the facility. The hospital provides eye care to the poor, providing services like eye exams, surgical counselling, refraction and prescription eyeglasses, cataract surgery, and glaucoma diagnosis, treatment and surgery. It also provides community ophthalmology screening, such as school screenings, community outreach screenings and awareness programs. Operation Eyesight began supporting the Club in 1982, and in 2007 helped renovate a new operating theatre, the former one having proved inadequate to cope with the volume of surgeries being carried out by the hospital. The new theatre has doubled the space available for patient care and teaching purposes.
Seth Ratan Chand Kanhaiya Lal Ranka Pana-Party Trust
Jaitaran, Pali District, Rajasthan State
Formed by the Rotary Club of Jaitaran, the Trust allowed for the establishment of a hospital at a strategic location in a small agricultural town. The hospital is the headquarters of an outreach program focused on preventative eye care, which includes education and school screenings. We started working with the hospital in 1985. Our donors purchased a critically-needed vehicle to support the outreach program, and also funded equipment and medicine and subsidized surgeries.
Shree Bhairav Netra Yagna Samiti
Pali District, Rajasthan State
The Shree Bhairav Netra Yagna Samiti is the creation of one devoted individual. In the mid-1970s, the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind approached Rajmal Jain, a prominent industrialist, to sponsor an eye camp in his home area of Bisalpur. Upon visiting the camp, Jain was so impressed that he decided to sponsor an entire series of camps. Eventually, his philanthropic work became a full-time endeavour and included the construction of a hospital.
Beginning in 1992, Operation Eyesight donors began subsidizing surgeries at the eye camps and at the hospital. We also contributed to the funding of equipment and instruments.
Sundrani Charitable Eye Hospital Samiti
Agra, Uttar Pradesh State
Three separate facilities have been constructed in Agra in order to provide preventive and curative eye care for the city and surrounding area: a base hospital (constructed in the industrial section of Agra), an out-patient facility, and a new facility in the Baluganj section. Together, they provide both out-patient and in-patient work. The hospital has an outreach program consisting of eye camps and school screening programs, which provide much-needed care for many of the villages around Agra.
We began working with the hospital in 1979, shortly after the base hospital opened. Our donors funded equipment and mobile eye units, school screenings and family health nutrition education, and helped subsidize surgeries performed at the eye camps.
Tang Area Dang District
Dang District, Gujarat State
In conjunction with the Child Eye Care Charitable Trust, Operation Eyesight began working in the tribal Dang District in 2008. The program eventually expanded to reach 73 villages, where the population ranges from 300 to over 2,000. These villages are remote and lacked basic amenities like access to transportation and health care. Almost 60 percent of the tribal population was below the poverty line.
Our donors supported the purchase of equipment, training for adult and child education, the development of primary health services and vision centres, surgeries, and primary and community eye care.
Urban slum Zakheera
India’s capital of New Delhi has the fourth largest urban population in the world. Because of fast growth, shortages of medical care and services and lack of employment, slums have emerged in many areas of the city. Zakheera is one of these, an urban slum situated in the central part of New Delhi, and one of the city’s most congested areas.
We began working in Zakheera in 2004, and in 2008 we began a program to develop a comprehensive eye care program with community development intervention to improve the quality of life and restore sight to those in need. The program worked to engage the community, develop needs assessments, train health workers, establish linkages with government and non-governmental agencies, and develop eye health and general health care. It also offered awareness and education programs, immunization programs, nutritional supplementation, and other forms of training.
Universal Institute of Ophthalmology Kasturba Medical College
Manipal, Karnataka State
A private institution with a reputation for excellence, Kasturba Medical College was founded by the late Dr. T.M.A. Pai, who established over 40 educational institutions and teaching hospitals. The college provides a wide range of training programs, and students specializing in care are only a small part of total enrollment. The college also services as a hospital, providing excellent service to the people in the Manipal area.
Operation Eyesight became involved in 1977 when our donors purchased a vehicle for the college’s outreach program for surgical eye camps. We also helped fund a remodeled out-patient department, allowing for the treatment of all kinds of blindness.
Universal Institute of Ophthalmology Mangalore Campus
Manipal, Karnataka State
After the success of an ophthalmic training program in Katsurba Medical College, the program was expanded in 1988. An unfinished hotel was purchased at a low price by college founder Dr. T.M.A Pai and converted into a hospital with funds from Operation Eyesight’s donors. We also purchased much-needed equipment and a vehicle for an outreach program. The campus is an important training ground for medical students studying ophthalmology.
Vision Welfare Society
Kolkata, West Bengal State
When Operation Eyesight became partners with the Vision Welfare Society, it was the only eye care service for some 15 million people in the district, the majority of whom were refugees from Bangladesh after the war in 1971.
Operation Eyesight supported eye camps to examine thousands of individuals for eye infections and diseases. A similar process was also performed in schools. Those diagnosed were later treated at surgery camps.
Webster Memorial Hospital
Gudalur, Tamil Nadu State
Owned by the Emmanuel Blind Relief Society, Webster Memorial Hospital is a secondary eye care centre that became an Operation Eyesight partner in 1989. It offers services such as eye exams, surgical counselling and consulting, eyeglasses, cataract surgery, and treatment and surgery. It has an active outreach program that includes school screenings and awareness programs.
Outside of India, Operation Eyesight has a long history of working in Southeast Asia. The needs in this part of the world mirrored those in India, where poor eye health-seeking behaviour, poverty, distance from medical facilities and a lack of trained eye health care staff resulted in significant backlogs of cataracts. This is the problem that Art Jenkyns set out to deal with when he first created “The Dr. Ben Gullison Club,” which later became Operation Eyesight.
Assistance for Blind Children
During the late 1970s, a growing problem with bureaucratic red tape was making it difficult for children in Bangladesh to receive medical attention. Assistance for Blind Children (ABC) was created specifically to assist Bangladeshi children under the age of 15.
In 1982, Operation Eyesight began assisting ABC with its goal of preventing blindness and restoring sight. It also assisted with rehabilitation for blind children, who are taught to generate their own income and manage themselves, encouraging them to become more independent and restoring their sense of dignity.
Batzold Memorial Centre for Sight
Kandy, Sri Lanka
This program is the result of diligent work by Dr. C.R. Seimon, past chairman of the Sri Lanka Eye Foundation. In the late 1980s, Dr. Seimon began canvassing NGOs for support of an eye care infrastructure in Sri Lanka, which became the Batzold Memorial Centre for Sight.
In 1990, Dr. Seimon approached Operation Eyesight for funds to help construct an eye hospital. A generous donor from Vancouver provided most of the funding, and the Centre was named in memory of her parents, United Church minister Rev. Charles and Louisa Batzold. The hospital, through its combination of health care services and training programs, is an invaluable part of Dr. Seimon’s dream of a sustainable eye care program.
Chandraghona Christian Hospital
Operation Eyesight started working with this general health facility in 1974. At that time, the hospital’s main focus was the treatment of leprosy, but today it has a small but effective eye care project, and serves as a faculty for both in-patient and out-patient care. The hospital also offers vitamin A supplementation and eye exams, medical checkups for mothers and small children, nutrition counselling and pre-natal work for expectant mothers.
Khulna BNSB Eye Hospital
In 1978, when Operation Eyesight began working in Khulna, an estimated 17 million people in southwestern Bangladesh had no access to eye care. Working with the Bangladesh National Society for the Blind and Dr. Bahuddin Malik, we established a comprehensive eye care program there. It was here, in 1990, that Dr. Malik performed Operation Eyesight’s one millionth cataract surgery.
Outreach was an important component of the program, taking medical care to the people who lived in remote areas, including eye exams, treatment of infection and the identification of surgery patients. There was also a grassroots training program with over 4,000 teachers, who learned to recognize common eye problems so young students with eye problems could be diagnosed and treated early.
Lions Charitable Eye Hospital
The Chittagong Lions Club is the world’s oldest Lions Foundation, formed even before the Lions Club International Foundation. One of its many humanitarian projects is the Chittagong Charitable Eye Hospital, which became an Operation Eyesight partner in 1974.
We provided funds for the construction of the eye hospital and staff quarters, and for the purchase of equipment like vehicles for their outreach program, instruments and medicines. When Operation Eyesight won the Lions Club International Humanitarian Award, a large part of the $100,000 US award was given to the Chittagong Charitable Eye Hospital.
Lions Club of Kathmandu
Since the 1970s, Dr. Yanta Mani Pradhan has organized a considerable number of surgical eye camps in the remote areas of the Nepal Himalayas. Dr. Pradhan was assisted by Dr. Gerald Hankins, an honorary director of Operation Eyesight, who was a thoracic surgeon in Calgary before going overseas to serve in the United Mission in Nepal. Together, they provided much-needed services to the citizens of rural Nepal. In 1985, plans to create a hospital began.
We’ve been involved with this program since its inception by providing funds for the construction of the Lions Eye Care Centre and the purchase of medicines, equipment and instruments. Our donors helped fund the administration of the clinic and the mobile program, as well as supported school screenings and family health nutrition education programs.
Rajshahi Lions Eye Hospital
Founded in 1989 as an eye hospital and outreach program to serve Rajshahi’s poor and rural population, by 1993 the program had grown to the point where a temporary eye hospital was no longer able to meet the community’s needs. Although Operation Eyesight had been funding the hospital indirectly since 1989, through the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, in 1993 we began funding the hospital directly, subsidizing operations at surgical eye camps and bringing care to those in need.
The School of Ophthalmic Technology
Columbo, Sri Lanka
The School of Ophthalmic Technology was established to challenge the shortage of ophthalmic paramedics in Sri Lanka through creating a group called ophthalmic technologists. In 1983, it was estimated that the country needed approximately 80 of these technologists to serve as assistants to the ophthalmologists working there.
Operation Eyesight is part of a cooperative effort to assist this school in the training of ophthalmic technologists. Our donors provided teaching materials including instruments and equipment, and contributed to the training of students.
The SEVA Service Society
Lumbini Zone, Nepal
The international SEVA Service Society developed an outreach program for eye care in the Lumbini Zone of Nepal. Clinics were set up in Tansen, Butwal, Panasi, Gulmi, Bhairawa and Kapilvastu. In 1989, SEVA approached Operation Eyesight and we agreed to support their screening camps, family health nutrition education programs and staff training.
Tilgana and Grameen Kalyan Eye Health Project
One of the most heavily populated and underdeveloped nations in the world, Bangladesh faces significant societal challenges, including a significant number of blind people. Operation Eyesight joined Grameen Kalyan, the social arm of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Grameen Bank, in a project that utilized the infrastructure of existing community health centres. At the time, Grameen Kalyan operated 30 health centres, which covered a population of almost two million.
Operation Eyesight’s support for Grameen Kalyan was aimed at extending existing cataract services into a comprehensive eye care project, which included the construction and equipment of a secondary eye care centre. The aim was to model a quality, comprehensive and sustainable approach to eye care in Bangladesh.
After more than 50 years of working to end avoidable blindness, Operation Eyesight has worked in many developing countries around the world. We’ve always sought out partners who can put our donors’ dollars to good use. In the past, we’ve supported projects in many diverse countries in Asia, Africa and Central and South America.
Club de Leones Puyehue
In 1989, Operation Eyesight was approached with a request to help fund school screening programs for Chile’s Club de Leones Puyehue. The Club had developed a small but effective eye care program with a special emphasis on the health of children. Their goal was to educate Chilean teachers to conduct visual acuity tests and to identify common eye infections and diseases. The program also provided free nutritious meals at school.
Operation Eyesight provided funding and purchased equipment and instruments. We also funded a permanent eye clinic in 1993, and in 1995 continued funding to expand the small building.
San Salvador, El Salvador
Founded by Salvadorian business women, FUDEM provides visual care to low income people, focusing in the east and west of the country, as well as some metropolitan areas. FUDEM employs local ophthalmologists, optometrists and nurses to assist in their outreach campaigns, focusing on low income Salvadorians, especially women living in rural and marginalized areas. Together with Christian Blind Mission, Operation Eyesight was a major donor to FUDEM.
Les Cayes, Haiti
Les Cayes is a major city in the south-western peninsula of the Caribbean Island of Haiti. The hospital was a “dream come true” for Sr. Evelyn Tremblay of the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis, who dreamed of a facility to deal with eye problems in the area. Thanks to joint funding from Operation Eyesight’s donors and the Brenda Strafford Foundation, this dream became a reality in 1983.
National Institute of Ophthalmology
Originally a program focused on creating a grassroots eye health care system that would train local “sanitarios” to identify and treat simple eye problems, the National Institute of Ophthalmology has matured into a comprehensive eye care program with several different professional and grassroots training programs, including a three-year course for post-graduate surgical ophthalmologists and a two-year program for nurses specializing in eye care. It provides a number of outreach programs, including family health nutrition education.
When Operation Eyesight first became involved in 1979, our donors funded the development of training programs for sanitarios, nurses, paramedics and general practitioners specializing in eye care. We also supported the purchase of medicines and instruments, and helped encourage and develop a paediatric unit.
St. John Ophthalmic Hospital
While originally located in the heart of the old city of Jerusalem, St. John Ophthalmic Hospital has been relocated four times due to various wars. Now centered in Sheik Jarrah, the hospital has become specialized in providing eye health care for the citizens on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many of whom are refugees. There’s also an outreach program to bring eye care to remote areas.
In 1982, we were approached by Dr. G.G. Bisley, who was then serving as warden and chief surgeon of the St. John Ophthalmic Hospital. Dr. Bisley was trying to create a small outreach program similar to the one he created in Kenya. With the help of our donors, he was able to purchase a mobile eye unit van. We continued to support the mobile programs for a number of years.