Where We Operate

VESI has run or is running programs in the following countries:

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.


2014: After meeting Dr.Kaini, the chief of ophthalmology in at the Manipal hospital in Pokara, at the AAO last fall, VESI was asked to establish a long term program at Pokara. at the Manipal College of Medical Sciences, a private hospital. The trip was to evaluate the situation. It was found to be suitable for a long tern VESI project. Dr Pierson will return in the spring of 2015.


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.

2014: The 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.

2014: With 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.

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.


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. 

2014: This was VESI’s first visit to Myanmar. At the AAO last year Dr. Pierson met a Burmese American eye surgeon, Dr. Cho Maung who suggested that VESI consider a project in Myanmar to be sponsored by the Sitagu Mission Association. Arrangements were made. Drs Pierson and Horvath were welcomed in Yangon by the Sitagu mission association, a Burmese Buddhist mission. After lecturing at the government eye hospital in Yangon the team went to the Ayundana hospital in Sagaing where they worked for five days. Cooperation was excellent. During the five days the team consulted on thirty cases and did fifteen cases. Myanmar has good potential for a VESI program.


2014: In October 2013 Dr. Eric Purdy a VESI volunteer went to the Osapo hospital in Pierre Payen to establish an eye surgery program. Dr Cowley an optometrist has worked there for several years, but no eye surgeon is available .Dr Purdy has organized has a program. On his first mission he performed 25 cataract cases. VESI will support his future efforts.


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.

2014: Dr. 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.

VESI has also operated in:
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • China
  • Nicaragua
  • Honduras
  • Guatemala
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Baltic States
  • Serbia
  • Mozambique
  • Angola
  • Paraguay
  • Libya