Teach a man to fish and
you feed him for a lifetime.
Give a man a fish and
you feed him for a day.

Our Story

On Dr. Aldave’s first trip to India in 2002, he was overwhelmed by the significant social and economic burden of visual impairment secondary to corneal opacification, where it is estimated that approximately 7 million individuals suffer from corneal blindness in at least one eye.

Read More

Our Mission

Visionaries International is a non-profit corporation, dedicated to reducing the global burden of corneal blindness through enabling corneal surgeons throughout the world to perform traditional and novel forms of corneal transplantation.

Upcoming Program

Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

The UCLA Oculoplastics Department will conduct a knowledge and skills exchange program at the Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital (HCMCEH) in Vietnam from July 22-26, 2024. The goal of the program is to promote physician collaboration, sharing knowledge and experience, and ultimately advance the care of patients.

The five-day program, involving didactics led by faculty from both hospitals, clinical observation, hands-on wetlab training, and proctored surgeries, is designed to provide a comprehensive learning experience. The program aims to exchange UCLA’s and HCMCEH’s approaches to multiple pathologies, and to promote sustainable training of fellows and residents.



Dr. Anthony Aldave and collaborators at the Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital (HCMCEH) have been awarded a $50,000 UCLA Global Health Seed Grant to fund a prospective clinical trial evaluating the usage of sterile preserved cornea tissue in treating infectious corneal perforation in Vietnam. One of the commonest conditions at HCMCEH is infectious corneal ulceration, accounting for 20,000 patient visits per year and with 21% of patients developing corneal perforation. In the US, fresh donor cornea is used to patch the perforation to keep the eye intact. However, donor corneal tissue is scarce in Vietnam, thus almost one-fifth of corneal perforations result in eye removal (evisceration). VisionGraft (CorneaGen, Seattle, Washington) is a sterile preserved gamma-irradiated cornea tissue that can be stored at room temperature for up to two years. It has been extensively used in ophthalmology, and its long shelf-time makes it an ideal solution for use in urgent corneal transplantation in cases of infectious corneal perforation.

The UCLA Global Health Seed Grant will fund a prospective clinical trial with the aim to assess the success rate of VisionGraft in averting the need for evisceration in patients who are at risk of or have developed infectious corneal perforation at HCMCEH. Thirty patients at HCMCEH will be enrolled in the study and transplantation for the VisionGraft will be performed by two surgeons at HCMCEH, Dr. Diep Huu Thang, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Chief of the Department of Cornea and Dr. Duong Nguyen Viet Huong, Staff Ophthalmologist in the Department of Cornea. Results will be compared with a historical control group from HCMCEH prior to the introduction of VisionGraft.

Our Challenge

The goal of VI is to reduce the burden of corneal blindness in the developing world. This goal is accomplished through a multifaceted approach, which assesses and then addresses the obstacles that limit the ability of the corneal surgeons in each locale to successfully treat corneal blindness. Common obstacles faced in the developing world include:

  1. Inadequate supply of donor corneal tissue for transplantation
  2. Inadequate number of corneal surgeons trained to perform corneal transplantation
  3. Corneal surgeons lack the training needed to perform newer forms of corneal transplantation
  4. Corneal surgeons lack the resources (equipment, supplies, etc) needed to perform corneal transplantation


Dr Dalin Piseth Chea from Phnom Penh, Cambodia is awarded the 2021-2022 Visionaries International Training Grant

Dr Dalin Piseth Chea is the recipient of the 2021-2022 Visionaries International Training Grant, which supports one year of cornea fellowship training in the United States for an international ophthalmologist. Dr. Chea, who is an ophthalmologist at the Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is one of only four cornea fellowship-trained specialists in Cambodia. Following the completion of her ophthalmology residency training at the University of Health Sciences, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, she obtained a Master of Public Health from University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia and a Specialist Certificate in Eye Banking from the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. Following the completion of her Cornea Fellowship training at the Stein Eye Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr Chea plans to return to a faculty position at the Calmette Hospital and develop the first eye bank in Cambodia.


The model being followed is that of “training the trainers,” who are the leading corneal surgeons in their respective countries, located in both academic centers and private institutions, who will then train other corneal surgeons in newer forms of corneal transplant surgery, including keratoprosthesis implantation. Equally important as training corneal specialists to perform these surgeries is the training of regional eye care providers to recognize patients in their practices who are candidates for these sight restoring surgeries, and to participate in the post-operative care of these patients, who may live a great distance from the corneal surgeon.