Dr. Van Charles Lansingh, HelpMeSee’s Chief Medical Officer for Latin America, has been selected by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) as this year’s winner of the International Blindness Prevention Award. This award, given to Dr. Lansingh in honor of his career working to reduce blindness globally, was presented at AAO 2016, the Academy’s 120th annual meeting, which took place in Chicago, IL on October 16, 2016. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest membership association of eye physicians and surgeons.
Established in 1992, the International Blindness Prevention Award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to reducing blindness or restoring sight worldwide. Its recipient is selected each year by the AAO’s Global Education and Outreach Committee, composed of doctors from across the Ophthalmology field. Past recipients include many leaders in eye health, including Govindappa Venkaraswamy (1992), Hugh R Taylor (2001), Allan Foster (2005), Gullapalli Rao (2006), Bruce Spivey (2007), and Clair E Gilbert (2011). See a complete list of past award award winners here.
Speaking about his selection for the award, Dr. Lansingh said:
“For over 20 years, I’ve had the privilege working with so many friends and partners involved in the prevention of blindness, without whom our success around the world wouldn’t be possible. This award is a call to action for greater patient outreach, especially those in need, and the need to change our mindset future generations of eye health professionals."
Dr. Lansingh presents during a HelpMeSee training session for ophthalmic nurses in Lima, Peru
Lauding the The Academy’s selection, HelpMeSee’s CEO Jacob Mohan Thazhathu congratulated Dr. Van Lansingh for his deserved recognition. “HelpMeSee is privileged to have Van as a key member of our leadership. His contributions are fundamental to the achievement of HelpMeSee’s mission to achieve highest quality standards in cataract surgical training and eliminate cataract blindness in the world.”
Dr. Van Lansingh was on hand to accept the award during the opening ceremony of the AAO 2016 on October 16, 2016. He is the first medical officer at HelpMeSee to be honored by the Academy for his work preventing blindness.
HelpMeSee is a non-profit social enterprise committed to ending the global crisis of cataract blindness, the leading cause of blindness worldwide. HelpMeSee makes sight-restoring surgery available to millions of poor within their communities by training cataract surgeons, many women, to perform high quality, high volume Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) surgery.Since 2012, the campaign engaged 267 surgeon partners and supported nearly 250,000 surgeries, across ten countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.