October 2020


ASCRS Foundation news
Operation Sight celebrates 5th National Sight Week

Watch for info on National Sight Week via ASCRS Foundation communications and social media. To receive Foundation newsletters, email info@ascrsfoundation.org. Visit the ASCRS Foundation website at www.ascrsfoundation.org for more info.

The ASCRS Foundation’s international and domestic missions support physician education and provide humanitarian cataract surgery to patients in need. Operation Sight is the domestic charitable program that addresses underinsured and uninsured Americans who fall under the radar for care. Program Manager Jaya Minhas explains how the pandemic has affected the program and the ASCRS Foundation’s plans for the annual National Sight Week campaign.

How has the pandemic affected Operation Sight’s regular programming?
Ms. Minhas: We have seen patient inquiries increase by about 75% since this time last year. I think this speaks to the overwhelming financial distress patients are experiencing due to loss of employment and health insurance coverage. The need to help these patients has always been pressing, but now it is even more urgent.

How is Operation Sight managing the heightened need?
Ms. Minhas: We have an amazing volunteer network, and it’s moving how many have stepped up to take charitable patients despite the effects of the pandemic. We are working to screen patients as quickly as possible. We are notifying patients during their application process that there may be delays in being matched with volunteer surgeons. We are actively working to recruit more volunteers, especially in areas of high need. We are expanding the focus of this year’s National Sight Week to ensure more practices can get involved and help in a variety of ways.

What is National Sight Week, and what it will look like this year?
Ms. Minhas: Since 2015, Operation Sight has celebrated National Sight Week each October to recognize the impact our volunteers have on the lives of patients. We highlight their charitable cataract surgery work and showcase the many ways in which they give back to their local communities. It’s a great way to increase awareness of the year-round Operation Sight program while also celebrating those who contribute to the effort.
This year’s National Sight Week will be held October 18–24. Our theme “Step Up for Sight” is a call to all members of the ophthalmic community to help the ASCRS Foundation clear the waitlist of eligible patients built up during the pandemic.
• Step up and give sight. Give sight and remove a patient from the waitlist during National Sight Week or the month of October. If a practice is already planning a charitable cataract surgery in connection with Operation Sight during this time, email info@ascrsfoundation.org and we’ll highlight the practice using the ASCRS Foundation’s social media accounts.
• Step up and refer. If you have a colleague willing to take charitable cases, refer them to Operation Sight to help expand our volunteer network. It’s a great opportunity for ophthalmologists to give back in their local communities.
• Step up and share. There is immense power in sharing how a volunteer practice or surgeon can change a patient’s life through Operation Sight. Even if a practice can’t participate this October, we encourage them to share their memorable patient stories, and we will showcase their impact on ASCRS Foundation social media.
The week will also include recognition of participating volunteers and a new volunteer toolkit.

What would you say to practices that are new to Operation Sight and National Sight Week?
Ms. Minhas: It’s never too late to get involved, and your impact is substantial for both the patient and their loved ones. The great thing about Operation Sight is volunteers can accept patients based upon their capacity. We recognize that our volunteers have busy surgical schedules. Even one charitable surgery or colleague referral can be life-changing for a patient on our waitlist.


Minhas: jminhas@ascrs.org

Operation Sight celebrates 5th National Sight Week Operation Sight celebrates 5th National Sight Week
Ophthalmology News - EyeWorld Magazine
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