The BBH Eye Foundation is a nonprofit, humanitarian foundation that supports comprehensive eye care services at no charge to low resource communities in underdeveloped countries. We work in partnership with local and international organizations that share our values to assure the best possible use of scarce resources and to promote sustainable programs. We believe that good vision and access to eye care are inherent human rights. Our objective is to assure that every child, woman, and man in communities where we work has access to high-quality ophthalmic care, including vision exams, cataract surgery, eyeglasses and appropriate medicines.
BBH Eye Foundation was created in 2019 by two close friends, each with over four decades of experience in different aspects of eye care service.
Dr. Gary Barth, President of BBH Eye Foundation. Gary has not only established a successful private ophthalmology institute in the U.S. but has devoted years of service as a surgeon and trainer in developing countries, including India, Nepal, Vietnam, and Myanmar. He has served on multiple Boards of Directors of nonprofit organizations providing humanitarian services.
Mr. Jack Blanks, Executive Director of BBH. Jack has worked for international non-profit service organizations for his entire career of over 45 years, including 18 years in programs focusing on prevention and cure of blindness.
Together we share a vision of a world without blindness and unnecessary visual impairment; a world where all people have access to quality eye care services.
To achieve this goal our focus is on strengthening the capability of local partner organizations, eye hospitals, clinics, and communities to deliver the necessary volume and quality of vision services. We do this in a number of ways:
Through training programs and infrastructure development (clinics and training facilities, equipment, supplies, fellowships and on-going medical education) we seek to build locally sustainable programs that will thrive independently.
By collaborating with partners that provide low-cost, high-quality cataract surgery to cure blindness. From 2019 through 2021, our program partners in Myanmar, Nepal, and Bangladesh conducted over 128,000 sight-restoring cataract surgeries. These operations require 10 minutes and cost less than $50.
We fund the provision of eye exams and glasses which enable adults to continue meaningful work, thus helping them support their families. Likewise, eye care and glasses help students succeed in school.
By introducing community-based primary eye care in rural areas where services would not exist without our partner's programs. Providing local access to primary eye care means people receive services to prevent blindness before it ever happens, and those in need of advanced care can be referred and transported to the hospital.
OUR PARTNERS & WHERE WE WORK
As a small non-profit organization serving low-income communities, our goals would be unachievable without our local and international partners. In close collaboration with the Charity Health Foundation of Nepal, we currently provide financial support for ten primary eye care clinics in the far western region of Nepal. Once established, these eye clinics are operated sustainably by local municipalities and non-profit organizations. In Bangladesh, we support the Deep Eye Care Foundation's program to establish a network of vision centers in rural communities. In Myanmar, our partner eye hospitals are located within Buddhist monasteries dedicated to serving the needy by providing free eye care and other vision services. Our support there also includes ophthalmology fellowships abroad for promising young physicians.
In 2022, BBH Eye Foundation is actively assisting all of our non-governmental partners in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar with the range of training, infrastructure and clinical services described above.
We are also pleased to collaborate with the DAK Foundation of Australia which has enabled over 330,000 cataract surgeries worldwide since 2013, including 128,518 surgeries in Nepal, Myanmar, and Bangladesh in the past three years (2019–2021).
WHY SIGHT & WHY NEPAL, BANGLADESH, AND MYANMAR
The World Health Organization estimates that 253 million people suffer from vision impairment. Of that number, 36 million are blind. These numbers are projected to triple by 2050. Nearly 80% of vision impairment can be prevented or cured. Nearly half of the world’s blindness is caused by cataracts, a condition that can be cured by a 10-minute operation. In Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, our partners do this for less than $50 per eye. A pair of glasses brings the world into focus for adults and school children, allowing full, productive lives. What's more, medications to treat infections, glaucoma and other blinding diseases can be provided through primary and secondary eye care outreach programs delivered at the community level.
Restoring sight to one person not only relieves his or her suffering but frees up members of the family who must assist them with everyday necessities. Restoring impaired vision through glasses means that children can go to school and that adults can return to work to live productive lives. All of this means that the whole community will see a brighter future!
Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar have over 250 million people. In rural areas, over 1% of the general population suffers from blindness. In one of our project areas, the rate of blindness for the 50+ age group is nearly 7%. Lack of government facilities and staff in rural communities, poor roads and transportation, and extreme poverty make access to eye care extremely difficult. The establishment of vision centers offering local primary eye care and referral to a partner hospital for free cataract surgery is a key objective for BBH Eye Foundation.
BBH Eye Foundation and our partners are committed to providing sight-saving services immediately, while building human and institutional capacity over time, leading to sustainable programs that provide compassionate and professional eye care for all.