SEE has provided critical eye care and surgery in the Philippines for over thirty years. Our team of volunteers host around 1 to 3 clinics each year in the Philippines. Past locations have included the cities of BayBay, Carles, Pangasinan, Bacolod, and Iloilo. During each clinic, we screen up to 300 patients and provide sight-restoring surgeries to anywhere between 20 to 100 blind individuals.
In October 2018, a SEE team led by Dr. Jeffrey Levenson partnered with the Philippine Academy of Medical Specialists (PAMS) to provide free sight-restoring surgeries for individuals in need. Since 2017, SEE has organized 7 programs in the Philippines, performing over 1,600 surgeries and serving over 3,000 patients.
The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country in the western Pacific Ocean. It is made up of more than 7,000 tropical islands, but most of its population lives on just eleven of them. The Filipino government established a universal health care system in 1995; however, it has faced several challenges in creating equal access among its citizens, especially in poor communities.
The Philippines has made great strides in increasing access to eye care, particularly for children. Over the last few years, the Department of Health in the Philippines began implementing a national blindness prevention plan and putting a surplus of money into this cause. In 2017, the government launched a new National Policy on the Prevention Program on Blindness. Their main goal is to increase access to eye care at the local level and strengthening the system as a whole.
Of the over two million blind individuals in the Philippines, the main cause is cataracts, followed by refractive error and then glaucoma.