Visualiza surgeons teach advanced and highly efficient surgical techniques to eye surgeons in Latin America and Haiti who wish to work in a social service eye clinic.

"Nearly 90% of the world’s blindness is caused by cataract, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and uncorrected refractive error. We must focus on strengthening eye hospitals with qualified staff, modern technology and sustainable systems to give patients the quality of eye care they deserve."

Raheem Rahmathullah, IEF Sustainability Specialist

"I would argue that a social justice approach should be central to medicine... this could be very simple – the well should take care of the sick."

Paul Farmer M.D., Partners in Health

Guatemala – a Model for Sustainable Eye Care

Over the past 15 years, with the support of the International Eye Foundation, multiple other partners and hundreds of benefactors, a network of three sustainable social service eye hospitals, called Visualiza, have been established. Over 65,000 patients, no matter how poor, are treated each year.

Led by highly trained Guatemalan eye surgeons, Drs. Mariano and Nico Yee, optometrist Dr Kimberly Weidman-Yee and administrator Chito Yee, Visualiza has earned the distinction from the International Eye Foundation of being a model for duplication of social service eye care throughout Latin America and Haiti.

The Goal:

Increase the access to eye care from current day 8 million people to 40 million people by duplicating the Visualiza model in building 14 new eye clinics in 10 countries in Latin America and Haiti by 2020.


By empowering highly trained native ophthalmologists and optometrists to work in newly remodeled and well-equipped eye hospitals. Strategic partnerships with organizations like SEVA, Optometry Giving Sight and the International Eye Foundation and mentorship by the Visualiza staff provide the administrative and clinical knowledge to make the facilities sustainable for operating costs within two years.


Each new eye hospital can be built and grown to sustainability within two years for $400,000.


Vision for the Poor builds from ground up new eye hospitals as well as increases the capacity of existing eye hospitals by renovation/expansion of space and purchase of new equipment. Each year nine partner eye hospitals treat over 160,000 patients. These facilities are:

  • Guatemala: Visualiza, Guatemala City (and satellite Pescatore Eye Hospital in the Peten, Guatemala)
  • Nicaragua: Ojos Sanos, Managua
  • Peru: Divino Nino Jesus, Lima (and satellite hospital in Loretto, Peru the Amazon Basin)
  • Mexico: Instituto Mexicano de Oftalmologia, Queretaro
  • Mexico: Instituto de la Vision, Chiapas
  • Haiti: Vision Plus Clinique, Cap Haitian
  • Haiti: Clinique Ophthalmologique Specialisee, Port au Prince.

Vision for the Poor Executive Director receives Archbishop Oscar Romero Award

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Vision for the Poor 2017 Humanitarian Award Winner:

Frank B. Villa II OD

For extraordinary support to bringing the gift of sight to the people of Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru and Mexico.