Guatemala Brillando

Visualiza’s Permanent Local Network to Cure Treatable Blindness

Visualiza’s Permanent Local Network to Cure Treatable Blindness

Glasses break; recycled eyeglasses don’t work most of the time; medications need to be refilled; and eye trauma happens 52 weeks a year – not just when mission teams arrive.

We started our work in 1997 with eye care missions in Guatemala’s remote Peten Rainforest.

We quickly learned that well-intentioned efforts of volunteer teams can create a culture of dependence and undermine the prospect of permanent, sustainable, high-quality local eye care.

In Guatemala only 20 percent of all Guatemalan patients can pay for eye care; 70 percent can pay for some; and 10 percent can’t pay at all.

To give every patient the highest quality of care regardless of their ability to pay, we determined the volume of care needed to be self-sufficient.

From 25 years of lessons learned and challenges overcome our Visualiza professionals know:

  • 13,000 patients, 660 surgeries, 3,996 prescription sales, and 996 more medical procedures every year make each Visualiza Eye Care Hospital self-supporting.
  • 5,280 patients, 240 surgery referrals, and 3,000 prescription sales every year make each Vision Center supporting those Eye Care Hospitals sustainable.

To date we’ve used this knowledge to turn an early rainforest clinic with occasional mobile support into a network of two self-sustaining centralized Eye Care Hospitals with four supporting Vision Centers.

We’ve recruited, trained, and employed more than 200 local medical and administrative staff who now serve over 150,000 patients and provide more than 12,000 sight-saving surgeries every year.


Looking Ahead - Guatemalan Eye Care
in 2032

Now – working with more than a dozen internationally recognized non-governmental partners – we’ve developed the Visualiza National Eye Care Plan to build six more Eye Care Hospitals and 30 more Vision Centers.

It’s a 10-year, $54 million plan we will accomplish in two phases:

Expansion Phase I (2021 – 2025) –
3 Eye Hospitals; 12 Vision Centers

Expansion Phase II (2026 – 2031) –
3 Eye Hospitals; 18 Vision Centers

The Result

One Nationwide Network Totaling –
8 Eye Hospitals; 34 Vision Centers


Watch Our Video

Help Us Reach the Most
Marginalized Guatemalans

Our first network expansion will be three new Eye Care Hospitals and 12 supporting Vision Centers in the Western Highlands region. This region is home to the most marginalized and underserved population with the highest documented treatable blindness – the indigenous Mayans. Among them are 1,729,854 people suffering untreated refraction errors and 43,886 people in need of cataract surgeries with no access to care.

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