SOURCE: HelpMeSee

HelpMeSee

October 17, 2014 10:13 ET

HelpMeSee & Columbia University's Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute Held Landmark Grand Rounds During World Sight Day

No More Cataract Panel Discussion Addressed Cataract Blindness Elimination

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - October 17, 2014) - HelpMeSee -- a global campaign to eliminate cataract blindness -- and Columbia University's Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute joined together to hold the very first World Sight Day-themed Grand Rounds in recognition of this annual, public health awareness event to address avoidable blindness.

"To all of us at HelpMeSee, every day is World Sight Day," said Jim Ueltschi, co-founder, chairman & treasurer, HelpMeSee. "There are millions of people in the world suffering from blindness caused by curable cataract and the awareness of this tragedy is something we should all recognize every single day."

The theme of this year's World Sight Day, "Universal Eye Health," and its call to action, "No More Avoidable Blindness," spoke directly to the challenge of cataracts, by far the largest cause of preventable blindness. Those in low-income countries lack access to necessary care that can restore their sight and their lives. Cataracts burden entire communities, depriving loved ones the ability to see, to work and to care for their families. Millions of people throughout the developing world face hardship because they have lost their sight to cataracts. Yet there is a scalable, sustainable, high-quality solution to this global crisis.

"This World Sight Day 2014 was a milestone event for HelpMeSee as we continue to expand our campaign for "No More Blindness Caused by Cataract," said Mohan Jacob Thazhathu, president & CEO, HelpMeSee. "We were honored by the Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute invitation to host this event during the world's most recognized eye health awareness day and providing HelpMeSee with a high-level platform to share our campaign to eliminate cataract blindness."

HelpMeSee has a solution to bring a high quality cataract surgery at a cost no more than US $50 anywhere in the world. The panel discussed the integrated HelpMeSee solution including simulation based proficiency training of cataract specialists, use of pre-sterilized single use kits and community based elimination of cataract blindness elimination through surveillance and use of geographic positioning and surgical reporting systems.

"World Sight Day is internationally recognized in raising the awareness of avoidable blindness, and international development programs that currently exist," said Dr. George Cioffi, Columbia University, Harkness Eye Institute, Chair of Ophthalmology. "We are impressed with the HelpMeSee campaign and welcomed the opportunity to share the accomplishments and future plans of this organization with our staff and medical students inspired by international development and humanitarian efforts -- especially one as focused and targeted as HelpMeSee's campaign to eliminate cataract blindness."

Columbia University's Chair of Ophthalmology, Dr. George Cioffi, moderated the event, with Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Dr. Lama Al-Aswad as a panelist. Joining the panel from HelpMeSee was Co-Founder, Mr. Jim Ueltschi; Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Glenn Strauss; and President and CEO, Mr. Mohan Jacob Thazhathu.

Traditional to Grand Rounds, audience members joined the event with questions and comments. Main topics of discussion were:

  • Collecting better evidence on the magnitude and prevalence of blindness prevention
  • Training more eye care professionals to address cataract blindness
  • Working with international partners to provide comprehensive eye care services and how to integrate them into existing healthcare systems
  • Identifying and eliminating social and economic obstacles, particularly for the underserved populations where more than 90% of those suffering from cataract blindness reside.

Watch the panel event here and join us in eliminating cataract blindness once and for all -- HelpMeSee & Columbia University's Harkness Eye Institute World Sight Day Grand Rounds. If you have any questions or comments about this panel discussion, please email us at info@helpmesee.org.

World Sight Day - Columbia University & HelpMeSee

Cataract blindness has a range of effects, from creating severe social burdens for families to placing economic burdens on their caretakers and communities. Avoidable cataract blindness mostly affects people living in austere regions under impoverished circumstances, limiting their access to affordable, high quality care. Through public healthcare collaborations, dedicated institutions and active individuals can help achieve a goal that will impact millions of people around the world -- no more avoidable blindness -- no more cataract blindness.

About HelpMeSee

HelpMeSee (www.HelpMeSee.org) is a global campaign to eliminate cataract blindness endemic in developing countries. The HelpMeSee mission is to make sight-restoring, MSIC surgery available to millions of underserved people through financial support and the training of thousands of highly skilled specialist cataract surgeons recruited from within their communities. HelpMeSee has designed and is now producing a virtual reality surgical simulator and training program to be implemented worldwide, adapted from extensive experience in simulator based aviation training.

About Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute

The Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute aims to be a leading international center for the treatment of sight threatening disorders through interaction between outstanding, compassionate physicians and talented scientists in vision and to train ophthalmologists and scientists to be the future leaders in the field. The department's main objectives are to maintain clinical excellence, strive for new discoveries and enhance educational opportunities.

HelpMeSee (www.HelpMeSee.org) is a global campaign to eliminate cataract blindness endemic in developing countries. The HelpMeSee campaign is make the sight-restoring surgery available to millions of poor through financial support and the training of thousands of highly skilled specialist cataract surgeons recruited from within their communities. HelpMeSee has designed and is now producing a virtual reality surgical simulator and training program to be implemented worldwide, adapted from extensive experience in simulator based aviation training.

Contact Information