Mission Cataract USA offers free cataract surgery to people of all ages who have no means to pay.
Thanks to the dream of one eye surgeon in Fresno, California, one day a year on Mission Cataract Day, hundreds of people throughout the United States are given the gift of sight at no cost to them or to Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance.
The dream started in 1991 when Frederick A. Richburg, MD, Medical Director of Valley Eye Institute in Fresno, California decided to donate one day for free cataract surgery and create a local mission right in his own back yard. Consequently Mission Cataract Fresno ‘91 was born. That year he and local volunteers screened over 150 people, and he performed free cataract surgery for 21.
In 1992, the program expanded to include six eye surgeons throughout California who offered free surgeries statewide for patients who had no Medicare, Medical, third party insurance or any other ability to pay. In 1993 the program expanded nationwide. As Dr. Richburg said, “Together we helped a lot of people.”
“There are many working people who need cataract surgery, but can’t afford to pay for it,” explains Dr. Richburg. “They have no insurance and don’t qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, or any other form of governmental assistance.”