Since 1995, Visualiza Eye Care Center, has provided high-quality eye care to people in Guatemala City and beyond. In 2002, the then-private clinic expanded to offer public services for local people in need. The evolution of Visualiza’s services meant they could access eye care at an affordable rate; their fees were subsidized by Visualiza’s private side.
It was the first time this had been done in Latin America. Despite the many critics, Dr. Mariano Yee and his staff have successfully run the social and private clinic at the same time, providing the same high quality of service to each patient, for 12 years now. The reward has been great.
“When you [help give sight], you help the family and you help the community,” Dr. Mariano shared. “The impact that we can have on people’s lives is humongous.”
Dr. Mariano explains that there are more than 100,000 people in Guatemala that need eye surgery, but reaching them and ensuring they receive treatment is difficult. When TOMS Sight giving reached Visualiza, he was thrilled. TOMS customers have helped his team reach deeper into local communities to find those in need of care, but who are unaware or unable to afford it.
“TOMS helps us to reach more [people]… when you see a little kid that you operate [on] you give him sight back again then you realize that you’re doing something really good. Because now this kid probably will grow and will be able to learn to go to school to be someone in his life. It’s really fantastic.”