Who are we?
Mission Statement:
VESI's mission is to help bring light to people in far-away places who live in darkness simply because they don't have access to modern ophthalmology.

Founded in 1986, Volunteer Eye Surgeons International, or VESI, sends U.S. ophthalmologists on volunteer missions to conduct surgical clinics and peer training in countries underserved by ophthalmologists.

With a small, all-volunteer staff, VESI maintains a tight focus on training and educating local ophthalmologists and on providing badly needed surgical equipment to remote eye clinics.

In addition to on-site surgical and training clinics, VESI sponsors a U.S. scholarship program for young foreign ophthalmologists. Also, VESI is devoting increasing attention to low vision rehabilitation. 
Scenes like this one, at an eye hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, are common when VESI doctors conduct ophthalmology clinics in foreign countries.

VESI Highlights: A Sample of Current and Recent Activities

Several years ago, VESI was forced to suspend operations in Afghanistan due to security concerns. One major accomplishment was thanks to the late Dr. Larry King, Jr. VESI was able to provide vitreoretinal training in India for Dr. Frogh, the first and only vitreoretinal surgeon in Afghanistan.

Despite many difficulties since he returned in Kabul in 2010, he has struggled to provide care to the people. In a recent message to VESI, Dr. Frogh reported that he had performed over 8,000 laser treatments for diabetic retinopathy, 2,800 intravitreal injection procedures and 680 scleral buckling surgeries for retinal detachment.

However, Dr. Frogh remains unable to perform more advanced procedures due to lack of equipment. VESI will continue to support him as much as possible.

Until recently, Myanmar was isolated from the outside world. With sanctions relaxed and modernization progressing at a rapid pace, Myanmar is an excellent location for an intensive VESI program.

Thanks to excellent cooperation from the Sitagu International Missionary Association in Myanmar, a broad program is anticipated over the next several years. For now, VESI’s effort is centered at the Sitagu Ayundana Hospital near Mandalay where Drs. Purdy, Horvath, and Pierson have conducted oculoplastic programs. Others will follow. Future programs will include hospitals in Mandalay and Yangon. 

Oculopathology seminar in Hanoi: Thanks to the efforts of Drs. Christensen and West from the University of Nebraska, a successful seminar was conducted in Hanoi in September 2014. The course was attended by oculopathologists from various centers in Vietnam.

Bangladesh remains one of VESI’s major programs. Since the passing of Prof. Matin, it has proved difficult to continue working at the North Bengal Medical Center. Hopefully, this will improve. Dr. Pierson has made regular trips to the country to the Chittagong Eye Complex to teach oculoplastic surgery.


In Mexico, a new VESI program with the Instituto Mexicano de Oftalmologia in Querétaro: Thanks to the long time association with Dr. Van Lansingh, who is now in charge of the teaching program at IMO as a courtesy of Help Me See, VESI was invited to establish an exchange program. The IMO is the only not-for-profit training hospital in central Mexico, providing eye care to a needy population of approximately 25 million people.

VESI specialists will conduct short term teaching seminars at the Institute. In addition, VESI will arrange for members of the staff to have short term fellowships at institutions in the US and Canada. Meanwhile, Dr. George Birenbaum returned to Chiapas where he performed 38 cataract surgeries.

From Last Year:

VIETNAMThe long established program for Vietnam has continued even though the medical system has made great progress. In the spring of 2014 Dr. Pierson made a week long visit to HCMC, Saigon. During that visit he saw around 25 patients in consultation and performed 12 surgical cases. In September Dr. Purdy will make a similar visit to Hanoi. Also in September two pathologist, Dr. Christensen and Dr. West from the University of Nebraska will conduct a seminar in Hanoi.

 BANGLADESHDr. Pierson returned to Bangladesh in April for a ten day visit. First he spent two days in Sirajgong at the South Bengal Medical Complex. During his time there he consulted on twenty patients and performed surgery on five cases. The following week he spent in Chittagong Eye Complex consulting on twenty cases and doing ten cases. He will return in November.

 LAOSWith the help of Dr. Christina Horvath two surgical programs were conducted. One in the far north city of Oudomxay where the team spent four days doing surgery mainly on patients from the local minorities.
Following Oudomxay the team went to Vientiane for another four days of teaching and surgery. A total of 50 consultations were done and 25 cases were operated on. A return visit next spring will be done.

See more countries where we operate.
Looking Ahead
Visit us at the American Academy of Ophthalmology conference in Chicago, Nov. 10-13, 2012.

In the Spotlight
VESI has run programs in the following countries:
• Afghanistan
• Vietnam
• India
• Pakistan
• Bangladesh
• China
• Nicaragua
• Honduras
• Guatemala
• Bolivia
• Brazil
• Baltic States
• Serbia
• Mozambique
• Angola
• Paraguay
• Libya
• Mexico

Chairman & Founder
Yale Solomon, M.D.
Huntington, NY

Rogers Pierson, M.D.
Burlington, VT

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Contact VESI
375 E. Main St.
Bay Shore, NY 11706