Global Ophthalmology Initiatives

Global Ophthalmology Initiatives

Global Ophthalmology Initiatives:

Casey Eye Institute - International Ophthalmology Program

Co-Director: Mitchell Brinks, M.D., M.P.H.
Co-Director: Kevin Winthrop, M.D., M.P.H.

Casey Eye Institute’s International Ophthalmology Program strives to reduce treatable and preventable blindness by bringing high-quality training to eye care providers working in developing countries. As a participant in the World Health Organization’s Vision 2020 effort, Casey Eye Institute (CEI) is able to offer its best resources: knowledge and training. We hope to leverage this by contributing to the education of future ophthalmologists, scientists, and other eye care providers in underserved communities around the world. Additionally, we hope to inspire our own students here at OHSU to pursue careers involving public service.

Many eye care providers in Latin America, the Western Pacific and Asia lack necessary training or have limited resources. Our aim is to increase the quantity and quality of eye care in developing countries in order to reduce rates of preventable and reversible causes of blindness and poor vision in those regions. These diseases range from river blindness to retinopathy of prematurity to glaucoma to cataract – areas where CEI has the expertise to make a difference.

The International Ophthalmology Program also allows OHSU’s ophthalmology residents (trainee surgeons) to travel internationally to treat patients in underserved communities. During a trip to Fiji, more than 200 patients received the gift of sight as surgeons treated cataracts and other eye diseases. For former resident Dan Tu, M.D., this was an opportunity to augment his surgical skills – including manual small incision cataract surgery, a low-cost alternative to phacoemulsification often used in underserved areas of the world.

With additional philanthropic support, CEI could extend this life-changing experience to more students while bringing needed care to more underserved communities.


Dean McGee Global Eye Care - China and Africa Programs 

Director:  Bradley K. Farris, MD

China Project

Dean McGee Eye Institute volunteer physicians and two PGY4 residents travel annually to China for educational purposes. Our goal is to educate the Chinese ophthalmologists to train their surgical residents more efficiently and in greater numbers. In addition to providing onsite education while in China, DMEI has been assisting the Chinese in developing a residency training experience that provides more hands-on direct patient care in a shorter time frame. With significant cultural differences in our educational systems it has been understood that developing relationships gradually, as well as setting realistic goals in partnership will result in sustained success over time.

Swaziland Project

Dean McGee Eye Institute volunteer physicians and two PGY4 Residents travel to Swaziland, Africa annually for educational purposes. During this experience, residents witness first-hand the opportunities and fulfillment of participating in missionary work. Residents work directly with the HIV/AIDS task force teams in Swaziland to provide needed care to those suffering from the disease. In addition, they work directly with Dr. Jonathan Pons who provides ophthalmology care for the country and assist him in various clinics and operating theaters while directly learning many of the skills valuable in missionary work. Residents work directly with The Luke Commission, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free healthcare to these in Rural Swaziland who otherwise have no access to needed treatment.


Global Ophthalmology - Emory (GOE) 

Interim Director: Yousuf Khalifa, MD
Assistant Director: Jacquelyn O'Banion, MD

The Global Ophthalmology Emory (GO-Emory) program is a pioneering interdisciplinary program aimed at improving health and quality of life by addressing complex problems holistically, through the integration of clinical and research knowledge and perspectives.

GO-Emory serves the needs of indigent populations with limited resources in Georgia and around the world. As an extension of the Emory Eye Center mission to help people see as well as they can see, GO-Emory physicians and researchers use a multidisciplinary approach both locally and abroad to promote access to eye care for all.

The program’s mission aligns with the ambitious goal set forth by the World Health Organization: to eliminate avoidable blindness and ensure universal access to quality eye care. GO-Emory, in partnership with Emory’s Global Health Institute, does more than provide top ophthalmology care, research, and teaching. Stretching across the vast field of ophthalmology-related service, research, and teaching, GO-Emory seeks to generate operative and sustainable systems that can be implemented near and far, from Atlanta's underserved communities—where "the world" starts close to home—to countries worldwide.


Loyola University Medical Center - Foreign Missions Program 

Assistant Professor and Director, Foreign Missions Program: Eileen Gable

The Department of Ophthalmology at the Loyola University Medical Center has a long history of engaging in global ophthalmology. In 1962, Ophthalmology Chairman Dr. James McDonald , together with colleagues Dr. Arthur Light and Dr. Thomas Stamm, founded an organization known as FOCUS (Foreign Ophthalmological Care from the United States). The first FOCUS volunteers served in Haiti, then Guatemala, and for the past 20+ year they have concentrated their efforts at the Mercy Hospital Eye Center in Abak, Nigeria. As department chair from 1971 to 1989, Dr. McDonald made service overseas a departmental priority. Today, FOCUS continues to provide vital medical and surgical ophthalmic services and support in areas of extreme need by recruiting volunteer physicians, collecting donated medical supplies, and raising money to fund its work.

These doctors are not the only ones who served overseas, faculty member and retinal specialist Dr. Richard Gieser provided eyecare in such far-flung locations as Mongolia, China and Nepal. While he has retired from practice at Loyola, he continues to inspire new residents to give of themselves in outreach through the Richard Gieser MD World Service Lecture endowment, which is a part of the annual Loyola Ophthalmology Resident-Alumni Day Conference. This unique forum invites speakers from their current resident classes as well as alumni and community ophthalmologists to share their medical mission experiences. Faculty and guest lecturers also present research and data on the need for eyecare in remote regions of the world.

Beginning in 2006, senior residents traveled to Guatemala to offer ophthalmological services in remote underserved villages and towns. Now, formalization of a Guatemalan rotation is in the planning phase. When instituted; this unique training experience will offer residents the opportunity to work hand in hand with Guatemalan residents and attendings.

The commitment to living the mission continues. Today, Loyola Ophthalmology hosts the Annual Chicago Global Health Symposium that includes speakers who lecture and discuss matters pertaining to global ophthalmology, giving eye care professionals a breadth of resources and opportunities to help them apply their professional expertise in a vitally important and personally rewarding way.


University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center - Center for International Ophthalmology

Christine C. Nelson, M.D., Professor of Ophthalmology and Surgery Bartley R. Frueh, M.D. and Frueh Family Collegiate Professor in Eye Plastics and Orbital Surgery
H. Kaz Soong, M.D., Professor of Ophthalmology
Jonathan Trobe, M.D., Professor of Ophthalmology and Neurology

Administrative Director: 
Donna Donato

Kellogg Eye Center's Center for International Ophthalmology:

  • Promotes and coordinates international clinical and research activities at the Kellogg Eye Center
  • Provides assistance in organizing interviews, lectures, and hosting for visitors
  • Places U/M ophthalmology residents in international ophthalmology rotations in collaboration with the Ophthalmology program director and other faculty members
  • Coordinates clinical observerships for ophthalmologists and ophthalmologists-in-training
  • Coordinates laboratory experiences for vision scientists
  • Assists Kellogg Eye Center faculty in arrangements for academic travel abroad


Havener Eye Institute - Ohio State University - Global Outreach Project

A sustainable outreach and education program to restore sight and change lives in the developing world. Serving such countries as Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Peru, and Nicaragua.


Wills Eye Center for Academic Global Ophthalmology (CAGO)

Director: Brad H. Feldman, MD

The new Wills Eye Center for Academic Global Ophthalmology (CAGO) is dedicated to leadership in ophthalmology by bridging the gaps in education, research, and clinical care that exist across the globe in an effort to prevent blindness worldwide through:

  • Training & Education
  • Partnerships & Advocacy Networks
  • Research
  • Clinical Care
  • CAGO Fellow Blog



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