September 2020


ASCRS Foundation News
The ASCRS Foundation pushes forward

by Jaya Minhas ASCRS Foundation Program Manager

The ASCRS Foundation is committed to its domestic and international philanthropic mission. We are excited to share updates on how the ophthalmic community’s continued support has enabled us to work through these unprecedented times.

Operation Sight: 2020 National Sight Week

The ASCRS Foundation is excited to resume its Operation Sight program, placing American cataract surgery patients in need with volunteer members of our surgical network. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in applications resulting from the employment, insurance, and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Operation Sight will celebrate its 5th National Sight Week, which will be held October 18–24. National Sight Week recognizes volunteerism across the U.S. and works to raise awareness of cataract blindness. During this week, we highlight the generosity and power of the ophthalmology community to change lives through charitable cataract surgery. This year, the ASCRS Foundation will expand its focus to encourage all members of the ophthalmic community to participate in a unified effort to shorten the Operation Sight patient waitlist, target recruitment within areas of increased need, and celebrate the impact of volunteerism. We’ll work together to harness the power of physicians, administrators, and staff to create positive change in their own communities. With a higher volume of patients qualifying for charitable cataract surgery, the need to expand our volunteer network has never been greater.
Stay tuned for future updates as Operation Sight unveils new volunteer and program awareness opportunities for National Sight Week. For more information or to get involved, visit or contact Jaya Minhas at

Chang Humanitarian Award

We are proud to announce Lowell A. Gess, MD, as the 3rd annual recipient of the ASCRS Foundation’s Chang Humanitarian Award. Unfortunately, with the cancellation of the 2020 ASCRS Annual Meeting in Boston, we were unable to recognize Dr. Gess’ life’s work during the Opening General Session. The Foundation instead chose to honor and celebrate Dr. Gess virtually to coincide with his 99th birthday in July. Visit the ASCRS Foundation website to read his incredible story and watch the interview with Dr. Gess and Dr. Chang.
Endowed by a generous gift from David and Victoria Chang, the ASCRS Foundation Chang Humanitarian Award was established to honor and recognize outstanding humanitarian work in the area of cataract blindness. The recipient is recognized at the ASCRS Annual Meeting and a $50,000 prize is awarded in their honor to a charitable ophthalmology organization of their choice. The nomination period for the 2021 award is August 11, 2020–October 15, 2020.

Igniting opportunities for collaboration globally

The ASCRS Foundation seeks to address not only individual cases of cataract blindness but also to fight its root cause: the shortage of eye surgeons in the developing world. The solution to this issue is two-fold: to create centers of excellence where surgical ophthalmologists can efficiently serve patient populations in need, and to focus on education, raising the local standards for both patient care and physician training. The ASCRS Foundation is proud to work with its international partners to create lasting change in the treatment of global cataract blindness.
Earlier this summer, the ASCRS Foundation’s International Division, consisting of leaders and partners working in the field of international eyecare, convened a series of three virtual update meetings on the pandemic’s impact on humanitarian eyecare efforts. Leaders shared updates on the virtual SICS simulator and
the Aravind miLOOP (Carl Zeiss Meditec) mini-CAP trial and discussed solutions for continuing patient care in challenging environments. The conversations included plans for a virtual ICO Board Review, which is the annual 3-day preparatory course organized by the Himalayan Cataract Project with support from Emory University and the ASCRS Foundation.
All six of Ethiopia’s residency program directors participated, discussing how they’ve adapted education and training for emerging ophthalmologists during the pandemic period.
Finally, the Foundation was pleased to introduce and honor its first five grantees of the Young Eye Surgeon International Service Grant. These are challenging times for ophthalmology worldwide, and we hope that by sharing experiences, the International Division can continue to foster opportunity and collaboration.
For more information on the ASCRS Foundation, visit



The ASCRS Foundation pushes forward The ASCRS Foundation pushes forward
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