About Us

The HelpMeSee Difference

HelpMeSee is a US-based, international nonprofit making great strides every year toward our goal of eliminating the backlog of cataract-caused blindness and vision impairment. More than 100 million people suffer from cataracts, 20 million bilaterally blind, 90 percent of them living in the developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America where we work. In these countries there may be just one ophthalmologist per million residents … or none.
In just the past six years, working with more than 300 surgery partners whom we have trained in live surgery and with our courseware, as well as trained community health professionals, HelpMeSee has developed standards and tools for cataract surgery that ensure maximum patient safety and successful outcomes. This has resulted in sight-restoring operations for more than 250,000 people, often in impoverished, rural locations, who had otherwise no hope.
At present, HelpMeSee is well on our way to developing a unique, virtual-reality, cataract-surgery simulator with which we expect to train 30,000 surgery specialists by 2030 to perform this life-restoring, low-risk, low-cost operation.

How Are We Different?


Locally sustainable health solutions are at the center of our campaign, and the only way to provide the ongoing care needed to end cataract blindness is by increasing the number of local specialists. That’s why we place an emphasis on training and empowering local partners.


We have worked closely with medical professionals on the ground to standardize the quality of care, the medical supply chain and evaluation practices to create a replicable model for eye care worldwide. Thanks in part to the revolution in mobile and cloud-based technologies, we can deploy our outreach and monitoring tools to partners in any part of the world and see results in real time.


The challenges to end cataract blindness are numerous – too few surgeons, low patient awareness, limited access to quality instruments and facilities, etc. So HelpMeSee focuses on a comprehensive solution to cataract blindness, one which includes surgical training, patient outreach, and support for sight-restoring cataract procedures. Our technology-driven solutions are built address all dimensions of this global health crisis.

The inspiration for the HelpMeSee campaign began in the late 1970s. It was then that Albert L. Ueltschi dedicated himself to fighting blindness in the developing world. He was convinced that training for local specialists serving their own communities was the answer.

As founder and leader of FlightSafety International, the world’s foremost aviation training company, he thought that he had the skills and dedication to make a difference. Today, FlightSafety is part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. FSI is a global leader in aviation simulation technology training, providing more than 3,000 individual courses for 135 aircraft types, using more than 300 simulators to serve customers from 154 countries.

Al also co-founded and led Orbis International for 30 years. A global non-profit best known for its “Flying Eye Hospital,” Al Ueltschi lead the effort to outfit the original McDonnell Douglas DC-8 airplane and later, its successor, the DC-10 wide body. For the first time, volunteer ophthalmologists could reach out to all corners of the globe to treat avoidable blindness of all types and strengthen eye care practices in developing countries through training.

Al realized that while the Flying Eye Hospital program continued to do great work, it lacked the scalability needed to provide access to the millions of cataract-blind, which is the single largest cause of treatable blindness.

It wasn’t long into the new millennium when he began investigating the possible use of high-fidelity simulation technology and other aviation instructional techniques to train highly skilled cataract specialists to solve the problem of access to cataract treatment. Al co-founded HelpMeSee with his son, Jim Ueltschi, with a singular purpose: to eliminate cataract blindness.

He brought to HelpMeSee more than a half a century’s experience in simulation-based aviation training to successfully design and develop a virtual reality eye surgical simulator to train to proficiency 30,000 cataract specialists.

Al passed away in October 2012, but not before signing the Giving Pledge along with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the A.L. Ueltschi Foundation and the Jim Ueltschi Foundation collectively contributed the start-up costs to launch the HelpMeSee campaign to eliminate blindness caused by cataracts.

James Tyler Ueltschi

Co-Founder, Chairman & Treasurer

Jim UeltschiJames Ueltschi is the driving force behind HelpMeSee since the idea sparked in 2008. As Chairman and Treasurer of HelpMeSee, James is leading a multi-disciplinary team that is bringing the technology of flight simulators and advanced training methods to surgical training and medical practice. The goal is to train cataract specialists in months instead of years. During his early career, James was the Vice President and a Treasurer of FlightSafety International as well as serving on the board of ORBIS.

Jacob Mohan Thazhathu

President & CEO

Mohan ThazhathuJacob Mohan Thazhathu joined James Ueltschi in 2008 to launch HelpMeSee. Jacob established HelpMeSee’s base of operations in New York City after officially assuming the position of CEO and President of HelpMeSee in 2010. Previously, Jacob was Chief Operating Officer of ORBIS International, CEO of ORBIS Canada, and Managing Director of ORBIS Taiwan. He has held various executive leadership positions with Plan International, one of the world’s leading development organizations and has lived in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. In 2001, Jacob was Plan International’s Representative to the UN and Lead for the special session on the Rights of the Child at the United Nation’s General Assembly.

Jeff Mullen

Member, Board of Directors

Jeff MullenJohn Jeffrey (Jeff) Mullen graduated from Georgetown University in 1991 and from Georgetown University Law School in 1995.  Jeff worked at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP as a corporate attorney from 1995-2000 before joining Goldman Sachs & Co., where he was most recently a Managing Director in the Investment Management Division.  In August 2016, Jeff joined Airbnb as Treasurer.   Jeff has been a member of the HelpMeSee board since 2011 and is also a member of the board of directors of the Fabretto Children’s Foundation.