About Sight Keepers International

On January 12, 2010 a massive earthquake registering 7.0 on the Richter scale, struck Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The Haitian government reported that more than 100,000 people perished, and millions more were affected. Physicians from humanitarian organizations from around the world rushed in to join the rescue effort and provide medical care.

Wisly G. Augustin, MD, MPH, a Brooklyn, New York ophthalmologist and eye surgeon, was among a group of early responders. He saw earthquake survivors who sustained eye injuries ranging from corneal abrasions, subconjunctival hemorrhage, traumatic iritis, ptosis, orbital blowout factures, and open-globe injuries. He also saw disaster victims whose traumatic head injuries resulted in vision loss and other serious ophthalmic complications. Many other earthquake survivors were unable to function because they lost their eyeglasses.

Located in the Western part of Hispaniola, The Republic of Haiti is widely known as the poorest country in the Americas. The earthquake exacerbated the critical need for ophthalmologic humanitarian care. While thousands of displaced persons required attention, the necessary equipment, medications, and supplies were woefully inadequate.

Following an assessment of short-term and long-term needs, Dr. Augustin decided to form a nonprofit organization to address pre-existing issues and the emerging ophthalmic crisis. Thus, Sight Keepers International was formed to collaborate with health, humanitarian, and medical entities  to make the following available:

  •  Conduct eyeglasses collection, processing, and distribution efforts free of charges
  • Free comprehensive eye exams
  •  Conduct free surgery
  • Organize ophthalmic humanitarian relief efforts
  • Provide ophthalmic disaster and emergency intervention
  • Emergency eye care
  • Specialty Services
  • Provide general eye care education
  • Support and sponsor training for ophthalmic health providers
  • Raise funds for the purchase and donation of ophthalmic equipment, instruments, and supplies for partner hospitals and clinics