Untreated cataracts are by far the single largest cause of avoidable and preventable blindness worldwide. In developing countries, blindness and visual impairment can have an enormous negative impact on quality of life as well as reducing life expectancy and economic productivity. There are also severe social and economic burdens placed on families, caretakers and the communities where they live. Many noble efforts currently exist to treat cataract blindness. However, these are smaller scale efforts unable to address the growing backlog of untreated cataract cases due to the population growth and an aging population. Consequently, the global health crisis of cataract blindness will increase significantly over the next 20 years.
Our mission at HelpMeSee is to ensure that the 20 million worldwide who are blind from cataracts, do not have to be anymore. HelpMeSee is a global campaign to solve the crisis of cataract blindness in two decades. HelpMeSee’s differentiating strategy combines simulation-based proficiency training of highly skilled cataract surgical partners; high quality, patient-centered surgical service delivery; and community-based mobilization monitoring and patient follow-up systems to reduce the chronic shortage of specialists worldwide. Despite the fact that cataract surgery is an effective intervention, in many remote and poor areas of the developing world people remain blind from cataracts due to the lack of access to qualified cataract surgeons. HelpMeSee’s unique model combines best-in-class surgical partners, effective use of technology and best practices to eliminate blindness caused by cataracts globally over the next 20 years. We are doing this by delivering low-cost, high-quality Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgeries (MSICS) to adults and children in the developing world regardless of where they live or how underserved they may be.
To date, HelpMeSee is partnering with 192 surgeons in 8 countries around the world who have completed over 177,000 surgeries. By the end of 2014, we will have expanded into 8 additional countries and reached 200,000 surgeries.