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Efficiency Drives Visualiza’s Success

Cataract surgery
Controlling costs while delivering quality eye care: One doctor, four patients, multiple support staff.


Visualiza operates its social service eye care network based on the Aravind Hospital System sustainability model developed in India. While Aravind is not a nationwide system, it is the largest eye hospital system in the world that teaches a time-tested model of high volume, high quality, and high efficiency care while instilling an attitude of service over profit.

Partnerships with the Seva Foundation and the International Eye Foundation (IEF) facilitated our implementation of Aravind best practices in Guatemala. Together we grew our Visualiza Social Service Eye Care Network into the largest eye care provider in Guatemala. We now operate two eye hospitals and eight supporting vision centers.

Visualiza employs more than 200 Guatemalan medical, administrative, and support staff. We provide optometric and ophthalmological eye care services to over 150,000 patients – including more than 12,000 sight saving surgeries – every year, regardless of ability to pay.

Patients able to pay for services subsidize the cost of care for those unable to pay. Patients qualify for one of three cost options based on their income: free care (10 percent of all patients), low cost (70 percent of patients) and full cost (20 percent of patients). Sustainability is achieved by high patient volume while maintaining low operating costs.

For example, each Visualiza operating room has one doctor, as many as four operating tables; multiple sets of equipment; and multiple nursing teams to carry out key non-surgical tasks, like preparing the patient and administering anesthesia. This layout allows the surgeon to complete one surgery, then turn around and start another surgery immediately on the next prepared patient. 

One doctor can perform six to eight procedures per hour. This is how Visualiza employs just 4% of Guatemala’s ophthalmologists who manage to perform 36% of the country’s total cataract surgeries.

“The Visualiza team provides high quality eye care to the people of Guatemala. As a training institute, they have also made a significant contribution in building all cadres of workforce in eye care for Guatemala and other countries in the region.
       “Through a mix of good business practices and compassionate patient-centered care, Visualiza is now a leading eye care provider in the country. The Visualiza team takes eye care to the rural and remote regions of the country.
       “Visualiza’s professional and passionate eye care team works to ensure that eye care is available to all who need it. Through their inclusive care giving design, combined with their commitment to provide eye care to all, they are uniquely positioned to scale their impact in eye care in Guatemala and beyond.”

Thulasiraji Ravilla, MBA
Director – Operations
Aravind Eye Care System
Executive Director, LAICO

Based on more than two decades of proven operational capacity and measured outcomes, we know that to fulfill our promise to provide every Guatemalan citizen with access to quality, affordable eye care requires building and staffing:

  • 6 more Eye Hospitals; and
  • 26 more supporting Vision Centers (one full-time doctor and three assistants, located within 30 to 60 miles of a Visualiza Eye Hospital). 

Our Guatemala National Eye Care Plan is already underway!


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