Operation Restore Vision

ISMS-Operation Restore Vision is a  specialized chapter of ISMS comprised of a team of highly skilled Ophthalmologists and eye care professionals, including  experts in facial plastic surgery and pediatric anesthesia. ORV team members  are accomplished physicians, surgeons,  technicians, clinical researchers and teachers; one  of the most highly trained and talented  ophthalmic medical teams in the world.

Operation Restore Vision is committed to making life better for individuals whose lives are affected by blindness. We make a positive impact on the lives of poor people, especially children in underdeveloped countries, who are suffering from eye conditions that need immediate treatment and/or surgery. To fully understand the impact of our work, we have provided some examples below from our last four missions that include 3 large missions:
ISMS-ORV-Dominican Republic-2014
ISMS- ORV-Morocco- 2009
and our smaller but more adventurous mission:
ISMS-ORV-Gift of Sight Mustang-2013
All of the missions involved preventing blindness and saving the vision of numerous patients.

ISMS Team ORV cycling race fundraiser

Team ORV fundraiser

The ISMS-Operation Restore Vision cycling team  lead by Tom Derfus will be biking in a multi-level cycling race on June 14, 2014 to raise funds for ISMS-Operation Restore Vision.

Please support us by sponsoring a member of our cycling team.


Video – ISMS Team ORV – Dominican Republic 2014


ISMS-Operation Restore Vision had a very successful mission to the Dominican Republic in cooperation with the Dooley Intermed International, ILAC, and VHP. A short video documenting a part of ISMS-ORV-DR-2014 mission was shot and produced by Daniel Byers, skyshipfilms.com, with technical help (audio and lighting) by Justin S Gentile and photography by Ivanhoe A. Gadpaille, ivanhoecameraman.com. Click below to watch.

ISMS Team ORV – Dominican Republic – 2014

Our mission was a complete success. All sixteen team members, including our honorary members from Lions International, were incredible.


Please click links below for image previews.

John Mitchell Aljian, MD (Cornea Surgeon, Trauma)  12 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Howard Berman (LIONS INT. Liaison) 1 | 2
Daniel Alton Byers (Videography) 1
Seamus Cunningham (Laser, OR Expert) 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Ivanhoe A. Gadpaille (Photography) 1 | 2
Ronald C. Gentile MD, FACS, FASRS (Retina Surgeon, co-leader) 1 | 2 | 3
Justin Gentile (Student in Training) 1
Andrew Haber (Technical Vitrectomy Expert) 1 | 2
Scott W. Hamilton, CCOA (co-leader) 1 | 2
Sanjay R. Kedhar, MD (Cornea Surgeon, Uveitis) 1 | 2
Lorraine Marte  (Dehabon Contact Manager) 1 | 2
Joseph Panarelli, MD (Glaucoma Surgeon) 1 | 2
Chris Quaglio (Imaging Expert) 1 | 2 | 3
Ines M. Tejada RN (Honorary Member, LIONS INT.) 1 | 2
Nelson Ventura Co, CRNA (Anesthesia) 1 | 2 | 3
Pedro Vasquez (OR Nursing Expert) 1 | 2

The team had chemistry and a connection that make missions so successful. Our flight handled all of our special needs, thanks to Barry Liben from Tzell Travel Group and Linda DoSuoto from Delta Airlines. Manuel Quesada 1 | 2 , a local long time supporter of humanitarian missions in the Dominican Republic, ensured a smooth entrance through the airport with all of our equipment. Despite having to cover 5 different locations, ILAC 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Dr. Guzmán’s office 1 , Hospital de Ojos, Hospital Cabral y Baez 1 | 2 | 3 , and the Dajabon, we were all in rare form. Days were very long and all of our sacrifice paid off. Our team is one of the most unique eye team in the world that we should all be proud of. Even though many of our team members are veterans, with some having been on over 30 missions, 6 have never been on a medical mission before. These six could have fooled everyone.

We were grateful to our local ophthalmic colleagues

Dr. Sebastian Guzmán 1 | 2
Dr. Pedro Guzmán  1
Dr. Jeannette Dominguez 1 | 2
Dr. Julissa Abreu 1 | 2
Dr. Diana Rodriguez 1 

We are especially indebted to Dr. Sebastian Guzmán and his wife who graciously donated their precious time including his office, operating room, and equipment to ensure the success of our mission.

We registered a total of 286 patients at the Institute for Latin American Concerns (ILAC) and performed over 300 patient exams including over 150 ocular imaging tests. A few patients were also examined at Hospital de Ojos (Ojos Monumento Viviente de Licey Hospital) and one neonate was examined at the Hospital Cabral y Baez. Glasses donated by team members and Gigi Gonzaga were distributed to needy patients in addition to special clothing  donated by Amy and Jayne Vozeolas. The team performed over 35 surgeries including retinal and glaucoma lasers. Surgeries ranged from vitrectomy, corneal transplantation, glaucoma drainage tube implantation, and ptyergium removal with graph. Some of these surgeries are considered the most complex of ophthalmic surgeries and are rarely if ever performed on eye missions. Having a state of the art laser and the most unique portable vitrectomy machine available with us made this possible.

Lectures were performed at both ILAC and the Hospital Cabral y Baez with a unique B-scan and UBM imaging demonstration given at the Hospital de Ojos by Chris Quaglio. The ultrasound demonstration was performed on needy patients for the local ophthalmologists and a room of inquisitive fourth year medical students.

We also evaluated 50 members of a family who suffer from a rare form of vitreoretinopathy with associated hip dysplasia. Lorraine Marte was able to help organize the transportation of the family and translate. The family was from a very poor region in the Dominican Republic called Dajabon. We performed sight saving laser treatment on a few family members and had all undergo genetic testing in order to elucidate the cause of this family’s condition. Kati Tai helped organize the genetic testing, and the bloods were FedExed to the USA. Four team members (Daniel Byers, Justin Gentile, Howard Berman, Lorraine Marte) were also able to go to the family’s homes in order to get a better idea of the issues facing this family. The family was experiencing a severe drought and needed to hydrate their cows with water from cracked sugar cane.

Below is a list of the different diagnoses and patients evaluated. Only the most prominent diagnosis was included.

Family Dajabon 50
Pterygium 45
Corneal Scar/Edema 38
Glaucoma 35
Diabetic Retinopathy/Vein Occlusions 32
Cataract (Main Diagnosis) 24
Uveitis 15
Maculopathy 10
Plastics 8
Trauma 8
Retinal Detachment 7
Retinitis Pigmentosa 5
Misc. 9

We want to congratulate all of the team members on such a successful ISMS-ORV mission and please share what you have done with your family, friends and co-workers. Sometimes you have to stop and just smile.

ISMS ORV Nepal 2011

Our mission to Nepal in 2011 was at the Himalaya Eye Hospital in Pokhara, Nepal. Our team performed sight-saving surgery and other treatments on over a hundred needy individuals with conditions ranging from congenital glaucoma and cataracts to macular degeneration and retinal detachments. We not only provided free care to the poor, we also conducted a National Ophthalmology Conference for Nepali Ophthalmologists, met with the Minister of Science and Technology, and helped the technical staff at the hospital improve their ophthalmic imaging techniques.

At the closing ceremony, the Administrator, Chief Ophthalmologist and Director of the Himalaya Eye Hospital, along with dozens of local eye care professionals, praised the work of Operation Restore Vision, and pledged to continue to advance their institution and our mission to restore vision, cure blindness and reach out to those in need. Our supporters are a vital part of our ISMS-Operation Restore Vision Team, and have enabled these missions to restore vision, prevent blindness, and repair deformities in patients in underdeveloped countries.
Every member of our Operation Restore Vision team strives to positively impact the lives of those going blind, who feel forgotten, or have nowhere to turn. It is our dream to prevent and cure blindness while bridging the gap of ethnic, political, and religious differences.

ISMS ORV – Morocco 2009

Photo by CHRISTOPHER TENG - Daily News

Photo by CHRISTOPHER TENG – Daily News

During our mission in North Africa, Morocco, we performed urgently needed surgery on a 6- month old girl with congenital glaucoma, who without eye surgery, would otherwise have been condemned to a life of total darkness. We performed the first corneal transplants in
Marrakesh, restoring vision on several patients, and opened the doors for the establishment of the first eye bank in Morocco for future corneal transplants. We reattached the retina in a 45-year father of four, who was able to return to work and support his family. Our plastic surgeon also performed cosmetic surgery on a teenage girl who was spared from a life of servitude due to her disfigurement.


Please read more about this mission at the Daily News website.

Video – Team ORV in Nepal – Gift of Sight

A short documentary about the ISMS Operation Restore Vision’s mission to Nepal – named “Gift of Sight”. Click below to watch.

From May 15-29, 2013, the Operation Restore Vision team members provided free eye examinations, eyeglasses, and sight-restoring surgeries to an estimated 700 villagers in the remote Mustang region of Nepal.  This is their story as told by documentary filmmaker Daniel A. Byers of Skyship Films