John A. Moran Eye Center Surgeons to Restore Hope, Vision to Utahns in Need of Care

Jan 11, 2019 9:00 AM


John A. Moran Eye Center physicians will restore hope and vision on Saturday, January 12, by performing free cataract surgeries for refugees resettled in Utah, the homeless, and low-income, uninsured residents as part of Moran’s twice-yearly Operation Sight Day.

Doctors identified 18 patients for the event through charitable health clinics including the Fourth Street Clinic, Moran’s Hope in Sight Refugee Eye Care Clinic, and Salt Lake City’s Project Homeless Connect. Abel Gavilan, a 75-year-old homeless man receiving services at the Road Home shelter in Salt Lake City, will be among those receiving sight-restoring surgery.

Gavilan, who has worked with and cared for horses most of his life, lost his sight in one eye when a horse kicked him. Now, cataracts have stolen his vision in the one eye that remains. Gavilan says he's looking forward to being able to see animals again and to reading his Bible once his sight is restored.

Operation Sight is one of several local outreach efforts by Moran’s Global Outreach Division.

“It’s important that we, as a community working together, step up to fill access gaps in our health care system,” said Jeff Pettey, MD, outreach division co-medical director. “When we assist people who are chronically underserved, we’re transforming families and supporting our state economy by getting people back to work and school.”

A 2013 report by Prevent Blindness America placed the total economic burden of eye disorders and vision loss in the United States at $139 billion. In Utah, that translates into $1 to $2 billion annually.

Operation Sight Day is only possible thanks to generous donors. Grandeur Peak Global Advisors of Salt Lake City is the presenting sponsor for both 2019 Operation Sight events.

“It’s our privilege to enable outreach work in our community that has such an immediate, positive impact in the lives of individuals,” said Grandeur Peak President and CCO Eric Huefner.

The Eye Institute of Utah in Salt Lake City, the St. George Eye Center, and Trent Richards, MD, of the Tanner Clinic in Davis County are also restoring vision to additional patients in partnership with Moran. The Moran Eye Center alone has restored sight to nearly 200 Utahns through Operation Sight.

Moran surgeons donating their skills are Alan S. Crandall, MD; Amy Lin, MD; Rachel G. Simpson, MD; and Jeff Pettey, MD. More than 40 additional Moran medical personnel and staff volunteer their time for Operation Sight Day.

Moran residents and University of Utah medical students first created a charity surgery day with volunteer physicians, staff, nurses, and technicians in 2012. The event was adopted as a national model by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Foundation’s Operation Sight network.