In the late spring of 2021, several of us were speaking with an old friend. During those conversations, we spoke of establishing a new foundation in his name to carry on the work that he has accomplished over the last forty years.
Thousands of vision-impaired patients around the world have benefited from his efforts. After a few conference calls, we accepted the challenge. From the beginning, we all agreed on what the fundamentals of the new organization should be.
It would return the great majority of funding to those in need and along with this, it would be volunteer-based. And our overall goal would be clear: Island by Island, throughout the Pacific, we help people see.
The Story of the Eye Mission of the Pacific
Thus, the Eye Mission of the Pacific, The John M Corboy Foundation was born. With a small board of directors, along with a Medical Mission Director, the first steps of the foundation were put together.
We have all participated in mission trips in the past and two of our new board members have previously served on the board of the Hawaiian Eye Foundation. Founder, Dr. John M. Corboy, a world-known ophthalmologist from Hawaii, began mission work over 40 years ago.
Through his efforts, thousands of patients in the region have received treatment. And through his efforts, hundreds of ophthalmologists have received advanced training to be better prepared to care for their own populations. Dr. Corboy is also the founder of the Hawaiian Eye Meeting which has grown to be one the most attended and popular ophthalmology education programs in the United States.
What Our Mission Means
As the new foundation’s name states, we made the decision to limit our mission area to the Pacific, a huge geographic area that encompasses many regions that desperately need care from maladies affecting vision.
According to the World Health Organization, the western region alone has millions of people with severe vision impairment. And they estimate that “Blindness can be avoided in eight out of 10 cases with appropriate treatment or early prevention”.
Many residents of the region have underlying conditions that when combined with lack of UV protection are contributing factors. Vitamin deficiencies, high rates of tobacco use, and higher rates of diabetes have the potential to create even greater damage to vision health.
A recent report on a combined country medical mission to an area of Micronesia reported the need for basic eye care. There was not an ophthalmologist or optometrist based there.
Eye Mission of the Pacific will serve the people of the Pacific suffering from vision loss. The foundation provides dedicated volunteer eye surgeons and support staff who bring their expertise, talent and loving care to those who may have no other treatment options.
We will also continue Dr. Corboy’s work with the Lancaster Course in Ophthalmology. This training course offered annually first began in 1946 for ophthalmologists from all over the world.
We officially launched this new foundation on October 14, 2021, which is World Sight Day, as designated by the World Health Organization. The designation is to focus global attention on vision impairment, including blindness.