In the U.S. and across the world, hundreds of vision-related charitable and not-for-profit organizations and foundations are dedicated to preventing eye disease, helping to restore sight, groundbreaking research, and far more. A comprehensive summary of all of them would fill many pages. Instead, we’ve put together a short list of 10 top eye organizations that have made significant contributions to preserving sight around the world.
One billion people in the world suffer from insufficient eyesight easily remedied by wearing a pair of eyeglasses, but 90% of those who could benefit live in low-income countries. Registered in the Netherlands, the TBE Foundation is committed to helping people around the world receive affordable eyeglasses. TBE developed an elegant solution for delivering quality affordable eyeglasses that can be assembled and adjusted anywhere in the world in under 10 minutes at a cost of $5. TBE selects and trains local people in developing countries to become Vision Collaborators. After training, they are able to perform simple eye exams and assemble glasses independently. When EyeQue launched its Kickstarter campaign in 2016, 3% of all proceeds were donated to this worthy cause.
Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity/International
VOSH facilitates the provision and the sustainability of vision care worldwide for people who cannot afford or obtain this care.
The goal is to increase the global impact whenever possible by supporting sustainable eye clinics, optometry schools, and optometric educators in areas lacking sufficient eye care. VOSH sponsors several programs including eye care clinics in low-income communities, and disaster response eye care. EyeQue
is currently exploring ways to partner with VOSH to support its admirable mission.
Prevent Blindness America
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Programs include vision screenings, training and certification programs, annual Focus on Eye Health National Summits, important collaborative research studies, and the Congressional Vision Caucus (CVC). CVC is a bipartisan coalition of congressional members dedicated to strengthening and stimulating a national dialogue and policy on vision-related problems and disabilities.
Foundation Fighting Blindness
Founded in 1971, the goal of FFB has always been to drive research leading to prevention, treatment, and vision restoration for degenerative retinal diseases. These include macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, Usher syndrome, Stargardt disease and Leber congenital amurosis, which together impact millions of people around the world. FFB is the world’s leading private funder of retinal disease research and a driving force behind the progress toward cures. FFB-funded research projects have identified more than 250 genes linked to retinal disease, and launched 20 clinical trials analyzing potential treatments.
Founded in 1974, SEE provides sustainable medical, surgical, and educational services delivered by volunteer ophthalmic surgeons to disadvantaged individuals worldwide. Its core objectives are to restore sight and prevent blindness. SEE provides training, education, and resources to prevent and treat several potentially sight-robbing conditions including cataract, childhood blindness, corneal blindness, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and strabismus. .Since its launch more than 40 years ago, the organization has provided 3.8 million free vision screenings, performed nearly a half million sight-saving eye surgeries, and touched the lives of people in more than 80 countries.
An initiative of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, EyeCare America administers two eye care programs through a pool of nearly 6,000 volunteer ophthalmologists. Since 1985, EyeCare America has helped more than 1.8 million people, with 90% of services provided with no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. The Seniors Program is available to eligible adults ages 65 and older. Volunteer ophthalmologists in local communities provide free medical eye exams, and up to one year of physician follow-up care for any condition diagnosed during the initial exam. The Glaucoma Program offers free glaucoma eye exams to uninsured, eligible individuals.
Optometry Cares – the AOA Foundation
Established in 2006, this foundation is committed to expanding eye health and vision care access to everyone in the U.S. in order to enhance human performance and quality of life. InfantSEE® is a free public health program delivering no-cost comprehensive eye and vision assessments for infants within the first year of life. Delivered by AOA optometrists, the program is available to all families regardless of their income or access to insurance coverage. Established in 1991, VISION USA provides basic eye exams to Americans in need, and is currently available in 40 states and the District of Columbia. AOA member optometrists donate their services at no cost.
American Foundation for the Blind
Since 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind has helped ensure individuals who are blind or visually impaired have access to necessary information, technology, education, and legal resources to live independent and productive lives. Esther’s Place at the AFB Center on Vision Loss in Dallas, Texas is one of many innovative programs. It is a fully furnished model home fitted with simple adaptations and products designed to make daily life more manageable for individuals with vision loss. The AFB Center on Vision Loss provides life-changing information and more than 500 products and devices on display to assist people with vision impairments.
This unique organization is dedicated to both brain and eye health. They provide initial funding for highly innovative experimental investigator-initiated research dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Since 1999, Macular Degeneration Research has awarded more than $24 million to support
research into the causes and potential prevention strategies and treatments of this disease. Since its inception in 1978, National Glaucoma Research has awarded nearly $31 million to support research projects analyzing causes and potential prevention and treatment of this disease.
Vision Health International
By invitation, VHI recruits ophthalmologists, optometrists, anesthesiologists, registered nurses, professional operating room technicians, and clinic personnel to conduct as many as three annual, one-week field programs. Since 1985, VHI has conducted 46 field programs. In that time, VHI volunteers have provided more than 27,000 eye exams, dispensed more than 22,000 pairs of eyeglasses and protective eyewear, conducted 23 teaching seminars, and performed 6,086 sight-restoring and life-altering surgeries in nine countries.