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Newsletter & Updates

Posted on October 11, 2021

World Sight Day Newsletter October 2021

Editor’s Note

From the CEO

Simulator Innovation



HelpMeSee Training Centers

Editor’s Note: A New Conversation.

Greetings from HelpMeSee. The theme for this year’s World Sight Day is ‘Love Your Eyes’. The idea behind the theme is about being aware of one’s own eye health and that everyone should get a sight check-up and recommend the same to others as well. And this year’s World Sight Day – we have a special bit of news!

Over the past decade, HelpMeSee has worked tirelessly in its mission to restore vision to people with visual impairment and blindness due to cataract. The means for achieving this goal has been through innovative and groundbreaking technological advancements in surgical simulation.

We are aware that things don’t change overnight – and we remind ourselves of the fact that ‘big change comes only through small steps’. We’ve been assiduously taking these small steps across the different fields that HelpMeSee has been involved in – be it training, simulation development or research. This is why we felt it was important that we communicate and let our partners, patrons, donors, supporters and well-wishers from around the world know about our progress, achievements and future plans. With that in mind – this World Sight Day, we are releasing the first issue of our newsletter. Through this newsletter, we wish to highlight the achievements, milestones and current areas of focus; not just of HelpMeSee, but also of all our partners who work hand-in-hand with us in achieving our objectives. We believe this endeavor reflects our core values of transparency and accountability.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Akshay Nair
MBBS, DNB (Ophthalmology), FLVPEI (Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery & Ocular Oncology)
HelpMeSee Simulation Subject Matter Expert

From the CEO – A Growing Global Cataract Crisis:

In a world where innovative solutions and global partnerships exist, a tremendous injustice continues to grow for the cataract blind

Today, there are more than 100 million people who are blind or visually impaired due to cataract, and as populations age, those numbers continue to increase. Why? We simply do not have enough cataract specialists in developing countries who can perform cataract surgery, which many are privileged to know as a 30-minute, readily accessible procedure. As such, a backlog of people in great need of cataract surgery continues to grow. In our world today, it is a raw reality that most of the people who are visually impaired live in low-income settings, impacting governments and communities in lasting ways.

To help fight this public health crisis, HelpMeSee has developed a simulation-based virtual reality surgical training technology that allows cataract specialists to be trained in the manual small

incision cataract surgery procedure quickly, allowing immense opportunity to scale.

Throughout this era impacted by COVID-19, one of the most important features of HelpMeSee’s eye surgery simulator is its ability to teach cataract specialists and ophthalmologists-in-training to practice cataract surgeries and learn to address complications through simulation, rather than on a human eye. Imagine the luxury of practicing surgery over and over, immersed in an experience that is authentic to surgery on a human eye, without worry about making mistakes that could permanently damage the sight of a patient.

The simulator is at the centre of a solution which every human being could contribute to and be a part of. This simulation-based training program can help any hospital, ophthalmic centre, university and even enable governments to train thousands of cataract specialists to deal with their backlog of cataract. This coordinated effort needs all stakeholders with this common goal in mind to come together to tackle the cataract blindness crisis that so unfairly strikes millions in our world today. Working with governments and partners, we can make a change.

HelpMeSee has the solution, and willingness to work with partners and governments to address this issue. Let’s help HelpMeSee help the blind!


Saro Jahani
HelpMeSee President and CEO

Innovation: Simulation Development – The Road Ahead.

As the subject matter experts at HelpMeSee, we believe that the simulator is currently equipped to train ophthalmologists in the complete Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) procedure; to achieve the next level of proficiency – we must train them in knowing how to handle complications and difficult scenarios as well. Our focus in the coming months will be to develop and add new features for the MSICS complications, and simultaneously finalize the roadmap for Phacoemulsification to be developed during 2022.

Management of MSICS complications: We are developing suturing techniques which is in the early stages of development. Sphincterotomy and peripheral iridectomy for management of small pupil and ACIOL implantation respectively have been developed and are in the final stages. Development of suturing techniques are in the early stages.

The foot pedal for phacoemulsification has been established and tasks like bimanual irrigation and aspiration have been developed. These are in the testing phase currently.

Future development: Phaco-emulsification incisions, nucelotomy techniques such as ‘divide and conquer’, ‘stop and chop’ and ‘direct chop’ will be developed in due course during 2022. Hydro-procedures and capsulorrhexis will also be developed as per the requirements of the phacoemulsification procedure.

In addition, with continuous support from our Quality Assurance team, we will continue to improve the MSICS simulation by developing complication management tasks like manual and automated vitrectomy and suturing in 2022.

Instructor Spotlight: Dr. Karla Pamela González Daher, MD

How do you think simulation has changed the way you train resident ophthalmologists?

Simulation is a strong and powerful ally in training. It has improved the surgical results by shortening the learning curve and reducing the number of intraoperative complications in junior surgeons. We have been able to actually see residents perform their first surgeries with much more self-confidence. Based on their performance on the simulator, we are able to customize training for students based on their specific needs.

Of all the different surgeries in ophthalmology, which is the one surgery that you enjoy performing the most?

I am deeply influenced by my love for MSICS but here is why: Cataract surgery is the queen of the surgeries for any ophthalmologist; and within the cataract surgical techniques, even though phacoemulsification is the gold standard, MSICS is an elegant, practical and efficient

technique which allows you to practice all your abilities as a surgeon.

What is the one feature of the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery simulator that you enjoy / like the most – when it comes to training?

The first one is the objective feedback. It helps the trainees to improve each time and, in many ways, it challenges you to do better the next time. And I have seen that this really works! It becomes a personal challenge —simulator versus trainee! The second thing is the continuous modules.  This recent update has been just great because it gives the trainee a real immersive experience of an actual surgery where you perform one step after another (and of course if you have a mistake at the beginning you will find very hard to do the next steps). Residents enjoy this challenge because they feel they are actually performing a real-life surgery.

When you hear from your trainees who have trained using the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery simulator – what is the feedback that they give?

Trainees always end training sessions with a lot of excitement, and I am glad to tell you most of the times they say: “It was much better than what I expected”. Transition to real surgery is smooth in most cases and I find that the skills learnt in training on the simulator can be seen when trainees operate on patients in the operating room.

Apart from ophthalmology, what do you like to do doing in your spare time?

I think I must have been a musician in my previous life. I enjoy singing and playing the guitar. We always try to have some music during the trainings (after the classes are done) and we have seen this helps the residents to relax and sometimes we find them humming along while practicing!

Dr Pamela González Daher, MD.
HelpMeSee Lead Instructor
Deputy Director of the Anterior Segment Department,
Instituto Mexicano de Oftalmología (IMO) – Querétaro

Trainee Testimonial: Dr. Vaidehi Bhatt

“Yes, prior to sim-based training, I had many complications associated with the tunnel. But my complications have gone down since I completed my training. In fact, in my first 10 consecutive cases – I had no complications at all!”

Dr. Vaidehi Bhatt

HelpMeSee Trainee

HelpMeSee Training Centers Across the World

HelpMeSee World Map of Trainees Trained by location. (Please scroll over the countries highlighted in Orange to see these training centers).


Amba is an 85-year-old Indian woman whose life was brought to a halt by cataract. Blind in both eyes, her family had to care for her; she had become totally dependent on others.

A HelpMeSee-trained cataract specialist operated on Amba. She was lying on the surgical bed during the procedure. As soon as the first cataract was removed—when she realized she could see—she started moving all around right there on the table! She couldn’t contain her excitement.

When you make a gift to HelpMeSee, you’re giving someone the skills to cure cataract blindness. They will operate on hundreds, even thousands of patients in the coming years. This is just one story of one patient whose life was forever changed.

Dr. Mandah Bayaraa was Amba’s surgeon. An Indian ophthalmologist, he said, “We do not do cataract surgery during our residency program. So, I did not have the chance to practice cataract surgery.” His training with HelpMeSee allowed him to learn and perform realistic cataract surgeries on the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator, giving him the confidence he needed to begin performing live surgeries.

Amba’s joy-filled movements on the operating table when her cataract was removed was a moment Dr. Bayaraa will never forget. He said, “Even though it made the procedure a bit difficult, I was extremely happy for her. After the surgery, she literally prayed towards me. She prayed and thanked everyone in the room.”

Please join us in our goal of eradicating cataract blindness by making a gift to HelpMeSee today. Your donation will train more cataract specialists like Dr. Bayaraa, who will in turn restore sight to thousands of people like Amba. There are millions more who are in need.

Your gift will create a ripple effect, paying big dividends of sight far into the future!

With gratitude,

Saro Jahani


“Will you help?”

These are words that, sadly, HelpMeSee hears often. Far too often.

They are the words spoken by the mother of a school-age boy diagnosed with cataract.

Imagine how she feels.

Her child has been living with the condition for years; his vision is gradually deteriorating.

Although she knows there are treatments for cataract, none is available in her area. And, even if she could find help, the cost of surgery would be far beyond her means.

Because of our community of caring, compassionate supporters, HelpMeSee has an answer to that mother’s urgent question.

Yes, we will help. Your son will have a second chance at life.

Every day our supporters enable this story to happen many times worldwide.

Together, we bring hope and light to places where there isn’t any.


I want to share an example of how your support of HelpMeSee is changing the world, one life at a time.

Paul is a 58-year-old farmer in Madagascar. He lives with his wife and children in a wood, mud, and thatch hut. Bilateral cataract blindness made it impossible for him to work and care for his family. As a result, he became totally dependent and their living conditions became desperate.

HelpMeSee currently trains African doctors in a form of surgery called Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) in our Madagascar Training Center. Dr. Mathieu, a local doctor trained by HelpMeSee, performed the MSICS procedure and restored Paul’s sight.

Now Paul can feed his family. He is once again the productive person who makes himself proud. Your support of HelpMeSee transformed both Paul’s life and that of his family.

HelpMeSee addresses the root problem—the critical shortage of cataract surgeons—rather than just raising funds for surgeries. With our comprehensive training program, there is hope for the 100 million people worldwide suffering from cataract.

Because of you, Dr. Mathieu and other local cataract specialists will change the lives of thousands of people like Paul. Thousands of families will have better lives.

I have a question for you…

Are you the kind of person who wants to see people like Paul care for their families, work hard, and live their lives to the fullest?

If you answered YES!, please donate to our mission to end cataract blindness today. Your gift will allow HelpMeSee to train thousands more cataract specialists like Dr. Mathieu.

Your compassion will be felt for years to come.

With gratitude,

Saro Jahani


As we reflect on 2022, I am so grateful for your kindness and compassion.

You didn’t have to care about the millions suffering from treatable cataract blindness.

But you did.

You didn’t have to be someone who thinks about how you can make the world a better place.

But you did.

So, today, you are part of a global community of humanitarians who believe everyone should have access to cataract surgery that can restore the miracle of sight.

Your support of HelpMeSee has helped provide free sight-restoring surgery for people who are blind due to cataract worldwide. From an elderly person who can now see their grandchild’s face to a parent who can return to work, the gift of restored sight ¬ is nothing short of life-changing.

Working together, our donors and partners around the world have accomplished so much.

• More than 1,500 cataract specialists were trained in 2022 alone.

• The miracle of sight was restored to more than 260,000 people.

• We’ve built partnerships with global universities and innovators, expanding our reach.

And that’s just the beginning.

Using innovative technology, we can train thousands more cataract specialists in the days to come.

As we look ahead into 2023, there is much work to be done. Right now, more than 100 million people remain blind or visually impaired—simply because they cannot access sight-restoring surgery. As a result, most live alone, in darkness.

Because of you, today, they have hope.

Thank you for seeing them. Thank you for caring about their suffering. Without you, their voices would go unheard.

With deep gratitude,

Saro Jahani

President and CEO of HelpMeSee

HelpMeSee Training Centers Across the World

HelpMeSee World Map of Trainees Trained by location. (Please scroll over the countries highlighted in Orange to see these training centers).

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HelpMeSee, Inc.
1 Evertrust Plaza, Suite 308
Jersey City, NJ 07302

+1 844-435-7637 (toll-free in the U.S.)
+1 212-221-7606 (international)

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HelpMeSee is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in the United States. 

The HelpMeSee mission is to eradicate preventable cataract blindness globally. We achieve this through an innovative, scalable simulation-based cataract surgical training program. Our program covers Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS), Phacoemulsification Simulation-based Training Course (PSTC), Suturing Simulation-based Training Course (SSTC), Complications Management Course (CMC), Phacoemulsification to MSICS Differences Course (PMDC), and MSICS to Phacoemulsification Differences Course (MPDC). These offerings empower eye care professionals to refine their skills, master vital procedures, and excel in ophthalmology. We are dedicated to restoring vision for those with severe visual impairment and cataract-induced blindness worldwide.

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