On February 21 and March 7, the surgeons, physicians, anesthesiologists, and clinic professionals of Minnesota Eye Consultants will donate their time and skills to perform eye surgery, at no cost, to patients from the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, and Wisconsin, according to a news release. For the 13th consecutive year, Operation Eyesight addresses the urgent need of patients facing dire financial burdens, unemployment, bankruptcy, or lack of insurance or disability benefits. Without insurance, Medicaid or other support, surgery is not an option for these people.
This year, family, friends, and doctors referred more than 50 applicants to the program. A vetting process takes place during which 10-20 of these patients are chosen to receive surgeries, which have been expanded this year to include a new range of cataract, glaucoma, and corneal procedures. Many patients will have two surgeries, after which they’ll be cared for post-op, at no cost, for a period of 6 months to 1 year. In addition, all supplies, equipment, and medications are donated to the program, according to the news release.
Also, as a means to grow the program and to offset rising costs and decreased donations, Operation Eyesight held their first “Strides 4 Sight” 5K and “Kids Fun Run” fund raiser in October 2014 at Lake Como in Saint Paul. More than 200 people participated in the inaugural charity run, and more than $85,000 was raised. The 2nd annual Strides 4 Sight run is scheduled for Sept. 20, 2015. The funds collected will benefit Operation Eyesight, with the goal of expanding the program to include more surgery days throughout the year, other surgical and therapeutic services, as well as medications for patients in need.
Elizabeth Davis, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist, and partner at Minnesota Eye Consultants, helped launch Operation Eyesight as a means to give back to the community. Since its inception, the program has become an invaluable service for patients who would not otherwise receive this specialized care. Dr. Davis’ goal is to inspire other practices, medical providers, and volunteers to help serve the growing needs of these patients.