University of Utah's John A. Moran Eye Center a National Model for Providing Local Charitable Care

Oct 02, 2014 12:00 PM

Charity Surgery

It’s hard to believe, but there are still thousands of individuals in the United States suffering from curable blindness—and many of them live right here in Utah. For the past three years the University of Utah’s John A. Moran Eye Center has conducted semi-annual Charity Surgery Days to restore sight to low-income, uninsured individuals. Moran’s successful and cost-efficient model for providing care has been adopted as a model program by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) Foundation’s Operation Sight network. Through this low-cost model, physicians, nurses, and technicians volunteer their time to provide free surgeries to patients in need. The operating room is staffed and run as it would be on any other day, except patients are not billed for their care.

“Good vision plays a basic role in health and quality of life. There are a lot of individuals who lack eye care because they fall outside of the system for a variety of reasons. We want to help everyone who needs it, not just those who can afford it,” says Randall J. Olson, MD, Chair and CEO of the Moran Eye Center. “We were excited when the ASCRS Foundation approached us about a partnership because it brings so much more attention, financial assistance and volunteer resources to the problem of preventable blindness in the U.S.”

Moran is one of five founding members of the ASCRS Foundation’s Operation Sight program, whose mission is to provide a centralized approach for organizations and volunteer surgeons who wish to end cataract blindness in the U.S.   

“Moran is one of the finest ophthalmic centers in the world, and it has a long standing commitment to providing care to needy and indigent populations around the globe, including in the US. Their experience and expertise is a valuable asset that will help set the course for this important project. The ASCRS Foundation’s Operation Sight program is honored to have them as part of the team,” says Stephen S. Lane, M.D., Chairman of the ASCRS Foundation’s Domestic Committee.

On October 4, 2014, the Moran Eye Center will kick off Operation Sight’s month of service by providing surgery to more than 20 patients in need. This will mark more than 75 Utah residents who have had their sight restored during Moran’s Charity Surgery Days since the program began in 2012.

Curing treatable blindness in Utah provides a positive economic benefit to the state. Vision loss can play a major role in unemployment and even homelessness, as visual impairment makes finding and keeping a job difficult. Charity Surgery Day gives visually impaired members of the community a new lease on life, often allowing them to return to work or to better care for their families. Saturday’s event was underwritten by the Henry W. and Leslie M. Eskuche Foundation.

The John A. Moran Eye Center, part of University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, is the premier center for ophthalmology in the Intermountain West and is the largest eye care facility between California and Michigan. With collaborators from around the world, research advancements at the center provide new diagnoses, novel treatments, and creative new procedures designed to cure blinding eye diseases. Moran specialists cover every field of vision care including conditions like age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, cornea, and external eye diseases. The Moran Eye Center offers the latest advances in LASIK and refractive surgery as well as a full range of optometry services, including contact lenses and eyeglasses.

The ASCRS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, which works to support physician education and to provide humanitarian cataract surgery in the United States and the developing world. Through its programs and partnerships, the foundation works to maximize the benefits of modern ophthalmology and to treat thousands of needy patients each year.

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