Health—General & Rehabilitative


  • New York, NY

Mission Statement

HelpMeSee is a groundbreaking campaign to solve the global crisis of cataract blindness in two decades. HelpMeSee's differentiating strategy combines simulation-based proficiency training of highly skilled cataract surgical partners; high quality, patient-centered surgical service delivery; and community-based mobilization monitoring and patient follow-up systems. Despite the fact that cataract surgery is an effective intervention, in many remote and poor areas of the developing world people remain blind from cataracts due to the lack of access to qualified cataract surgeons. HelpMeSee's unique model combines best-in-class surgical partners, effective use of technology and best practices to eliminate blindness caused by cataracts globally over the next 20 years. We are doing this by delivering low-cost, high-quality Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgeries (MSICS) to adults and children in the developing world regardless of where they live or how underserved they may be.

The success of the HelpMeSee Campaign is built on five core principles we adhere to throughout our operations:

1. Right to Sight and Quality Patient Services – Every person needlessly blind due to cataracts has the right to see. For HelpMeSee and the surgical partners, it is a privilege to serve them. HelpMeSee surgical partners are expected to maintain the highest standards of performance.

2. Scalability- HelpMeSee delivers the highest quality patient care to the cataract blind and maintains excellent surgical outcomes through strict Quality Assurance guidelines that ensure the best standard of care at all times. We are doing this at a cost of no more than US$50 anywhere in the world. Access to affordable, high quality surgery restores the dignity of every person suffering from cataract blindness because we believe every patient has the right to surgical care and no one blind should be left behind due to socioeconomic status.

3. Transformational Technology and Effective Tools— Through a solution based approach, HelpMeSee uses the most advanced technology to improve access to care and address the pressing global issue of cataract blindness. Our Technology enabled ecosystem improves surgical delivery, sustainability, and patient-centered quality in underserved populations and positions HelpMeSee as a leader in healthcare transformation. Our Virtual Reality Cataract Surgical Training Simulator and Training Management System deliver highly focused, large-scale training of cataract surgical specialists to address the chronic shortage and cataract backlog worldwide.

4. Sustainability— Our approach begins with community-based care. We partner with locally-trained specialists willing to perform 2,500 surgical procedures a year in their country, improving access and quality of care in their communities. We focus on building long-term relationships; all funds we raise directly benefit local surgical specialists or patients.

5. Accountability and Transparency – HelpMeSee is accountable and transparent to every donor for the impact expected from financial contributions and the return on investment for the generous support of our contributors. Our cloud-based surgical reporting systems ensure we can verify all use of surgical funds and track individual patient surgical outcomes to ensure accountability and maintain our quality standard.

Main Programs

  1. Cataract Free Communities
  2. Accessible and Affordable High Quality Cataract Surgical Care Delivery
  3. Community Mobilization
  4. Training Management System
  5. Training Centers
  6. Virtual Reality Cataract Surgical Training Simulator

service areas


Self-reported by organization

ruling year


chief executive

Mr. Mohan Jacob Thazhathu

Self-reported by organization


Medical Simulation, Surgical Simulation, Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery, MSICS, Cataract Blindness

Self-reported by organization

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012.
Register now



Physical Address

20 West 36th Street Suite 701

New York, NY 10018 8005

Also Known As

HelpMeSee - Restoring Sight and Hope to 20 Million Blinded by Cataracts


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Ambulatory Health Center, Community Clinic (E32)

Eye Diseases, Blindness and Vision Impairments (G41)

Management & Technical Assistance (S02)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

To date:

A. HelpMeSee has delivered over 235,000 cataract surgeries as of January 2016.

B. Proof of concept models for the cataract surgical simulators are successfully tested. Pre-production prototypes under development to be ready in a year.

C. Advanced training courseware being piloted with cataract surgeons, which increased the number of surgical partners to 242 as of December 2015.

D. Evidence based delivery of high quality cataract surgery and visual acuity outcome monitoring for every person, adults and children in place with advanced cloud and geographic information systems.


What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Cataract Free Communities

HelpMeSee’s mission is to eliminate blindness caused by cataracts globally over the next 20 years. Completely eliminating the backlog would mean that an area is “cataract free.” From that point on, the expectation is that only newly developed cases are being seen by local specialists.

In addition to understanding how an area is defined, it is also important to understand how HelpMeSee utilizes the latest technologies paired with the support of community-based volunteer groups to make this happen.

HelpMeSee’s first Cataract Free Community was declared on October 2, 2014 by the State of Utter Pradesh, India. The 42 partner surgeons at Shri Sadguru Seva Sangh Trust (SSST) completed almost 10,000 surgeries with support from HelpMeSee, completely eliminating the backlog of untreated cataract blindness cases.

The HelpMeSee—SSST campaign partnership—which began in 2011—was established with the mutual goal of implementing an evidence-based approach for eliminating blindness due to cataracts. As such, our partners in Chitrakoot agreed to be the pilot study site for HelpMeSee’s Geographic Positioning and Patient Information System and community health worker program. The process includes:
• Mapping of remote locations in the regions surrounding city centers
• Assigning one community mobilizer to each defined geographic area with a population of 250,000
• Equipping community health workers with handheld Android devices

The handheld devices, with the HelpMeSee Android App, will allow community health workers to:
• Screen and locate patients
• Ensure optimal distribution of MSICS providers
• Build community awareness
• Surgical scheduling of patients
• Facilitate post-surgical follow-up
• Implement sustained screening to maintain cataract-free status

Cataract-Free Community Model Costs (per patient)
Community mobilizers pre-work: $5.00
Survey Kits: $2.50
Screening Camps: $12.50
Patient Travel: $30.00
Surgery Adult (per eye): $50.00
Surgery Child (per eye): $350.00
Incentive paid to community workers for screening and follow-up: $0.75




Population Served

Blind and Vision Impaired



Program 2

Accessible and Affordable High Quality Cataract Surgical Care Delivery

HelpMeSee is proud of the patient-centered approach to our mission. The patient care delivery model includes several key components that will ensure that everyone who needs help receives it, and that they receive the best possible care.

HelpMeSee recruits best in class, highly trained surgical partners. Once chosen, our surgical partners are required to follow strict safety and quality standards. HelpMeSee’s single-use, pre-sterilized MSICS surgical kits are just one example. The kits are distributed to our partners and use will reduce post-operative complications and infection rates, particularly when surgeries are performed in remote environments with limited resources and power for proper sterilization techniques.

$50 USD—One adult surgery (single eye)
$350 USD—One child surgery (single eye)

HelpMeSee promotes patient centered standards and requires partners to follow appropriate patient care standards. The Quality Assurance (QA) Guidelines describe HMS minimum standards for surgical safety and excellence. It is the responsibility of the partner to determine how best to use these standards as a guideline for each specific situation where HelpMeSee funding will be used. However, these guidelines do not supersede or replace the partner’s own medical judgment of any local medical care standards or licensure requirements.

The QA Guidelines cover general safety and sterility requirements, patient selection criteria, and specific considerations for local and general anesthetic Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgical (MSICS) cases. HMS places the highest priority on the safety of the patients and staff, as well as the quality of surgical outcomes.

Though these guidelines cannot guarantee success, HelpMeSee expects partners to demonstrate the due diligence needed to ensure safe and effective surgery and to provide for the ongoing review and improvement of the quality of care.

MSICS is a highly effective, low-cost method of saving or restoring sight. However, the per surgery costs paid to partner surgeons do not reflect the costs involved in establishing a medical practice in a remote region which will be necessary to reach everyone in need. HelpMeSee provides start-up funding to newly trained MSICS specialists willing to set up clinics in areas of high need. All trained MSICS specialists will have the necessary skills and support to establish their own surgical practices to deliver 2,500 high quality cataract surgeries yearly. This will provide financial independence, employ additional personnel, and create a positive and enduring presence within their communities.

$15,000 USD—Clinic Start-Up Funding
$102,000 USD—New Clinic (Ground Up)
$42,000 USD—Clinic Annual Operating Costs





Population Served

Blind and Vision Impaired



Program 3

Community Mobilization

A critical component to delivery of HelpMeSee’s mission is community-based mobilization. Such strategies have been successfully developed and proven for the elimination of other diseases—such as smallpox in India, as detailed in the book House on Fire by William H. Foege, where it was described as “a spectacular triumph of medicine and public health.” An adapted version is now being implemented by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF for the eradication of polio in India. In the countries where we work, HelpMeSee will utilize this proven method by:
• Mapping remote communities and locations in least served geographic regions
• Assigning one community mobilizer to each defined geographic area with a population of 250,000
• Equipping community health workers with handheld Android devices

The Android handheld devices will allow community health workers to:
• Locate patients
• Ensure optimal positioning of MSICS providers
• Build community awareness
• Schedule, screening,patient selection and surgical services
• Facilitate post-surgical follow-up

The availability of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology at this critical point in HelpMeSee’s story will allow us—with the help of community health workers—to capture data about the exact locations of each cataract patient we encounter as well as help us pinpoint the nearest HelpMeSee partner. In turn, the partners will be able to store and add to the data as the individual becomes a patient. Finally, HelpMeSee can analyze all of the data, ultimately having a clear picture of the prevalence, distribution, surgical rate and, ultimately, the success of the HelpMeSee campaign toward the elimination of cataract blindness around the world.

Community Mobilization GeographicPositioning and Patient Information Systems (GPPIS) Costs
Incentive paid to community healthworkers ($0.75 per patient per 1M patients): $750,000
Technology costs (handheld devices, network, IP network): $500,000
HelpMeSee GPPIS Android APP and cloud-based hardware and server costs: $750,000
Total: $2,000,000





Population Served

Blind and Vision Impaired



Program 4

Training Management System

A well-designed training system and curriculum is required for effective and efficient training. HelpMeSee’s innovative Training Management System (TMS) is a platform that can be modified for use within any industry and for use across a variety of training needs. Our flexible software allows users to create highly customized eLearning units and features highly interactive tools that allow trainers and trainees to get the most from the system—and each other.

Our integrated system is rich with features, including:
• Standard roles
• Flexible privileges
• Author multiple programs geared toward different audiences
• Create new assignments via a wizard-driven system
• Create curriculum
• Build assignment workflow
• Standardized curriculum developed and/or customized for each training need
• Able to publish approved new units and make updates available to end users
• Digital asset library

Empower our instructors with standardized training resources, training tools and performance data:
• Demonstrate assignment—up to 4 trainees
• Customize assignment (as per assignment specifications)
• View real time assignment attempts on TMS display (of the trainee)
• Access enhanced performance data (Instructor tab)
• Access to additional functions to customize the assignment attempt using the TMS display (of the trainee), e.g. activate a challenge during an attempt, use training tools such as pointers, scale (Instructor tab), mark cue points
• Replay attempts
• View performance data—real time and post attempt
• View performance history (using SBLS)
• Override standard flow—for differentiation
• Use open assignments—create nonstandard assignments on the fly for quick demonstration and differentiation of training

We ensure our trainees get the most out of their eLearning experience by allowing them to:
• View list of enrolled program(s)
• Perform assignments
• Individualized training—computer guided activation of assignments to maintain standards, flow based on individual accomplishment and demonstration of proficiency
• View demonstrations by instructor in 3D (using exceptional setup in the lab or within each simulator pod)
• View attempt videos on TMS display (peers and instructor)
• View real time and post-attempt performance parameters
• Evaluation of performance—both objective and subjective (supported with entry by instructors). Can also be scored
• Feedback—based on the evaluation
• Access to support of training tools such as guidelines, OV, real time alerts, error tones, feedback metrics, etc.
• View reports
• Flag attempts and add comments
• Review performance history

The estimated training cost is $12,000 per student. Will vary based on countries/ regions and duration of training.





Population Served

Blind and Vision Impaired



Program 5

Training Centers

Within the next 20 years, HelpMeSee aims to train 30,000 highly skilled cataract surgical specialists at training centers established by the organization. Trainee competence will be determined by objective measurements of skills, training, and independent validation. The project would also train nurses, administrative assistants, and technicians skilled in specialized areas relating to cataract surgery. Each surgical specialist will be capable of delivering at least 2,500 high quality cataract surgeries per year, leading to vision restoration for millions of underprivileged visually impaired and blind people, while eliminating the current backlog of cataract blindness globally.

HelpMeSee plans to establish 6–7 training centers across the world wherein aspiring cataract surgical specialists can enroll and undergo a thorough proficiency based training program on Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS).

Contingent on each individual’s background and experience, a trainee will be able to reach proficiency in MSICS within six months. A distinctive feature of the HelpMeSee training program is the use of an innovative, high fidelity MSICS surgical simulator. The simulator will utilize the same training methodologies and principles that have proven to be highly effective in the field of aviation for training pilots.

The HelpMeSee MSICS simulator is a high fidelity surgical simulation system that will allow simulation of the entire MSICS procedure and enable comprehensive training in a wide range of scenarios for pre-existing patient characteristics. The simulator will also have a range of more than 200 errors, challenges, and complication scenarios that the surgeons may face in the operating room during live cataract surgery. The well-designed curriculum and instructional delivery system for effective use of the HelpMeSee MSICS simulator will result in successful training of the thousands of cataract surgical specialists necessary to eliminate the backlog of blindness due to cataracts. Instructional activities will include simulator lab practice in an immersive simulation lab,classroom instruction, lab activity, self-study and live mentored surgeries performed at surgical partner sites.

Cataract Surgical Specialist Trainees are expected to undergo around 400 to 700 hours of learning based on their prior knowledge and skills. 60% of this time will be spent on simulator practice and evaluation, 20% on classroom instruction and lab activity, and 20% on self-study.

Training Center Startup Costs
Basic Infrastructure: $2,436,000
Simulators: $6,000,000
IT Setup: $520,000
OR Equipment: $60,000
Transportation: $144,000
Total: $9,160,000

Training Center Annual Operating Cost
Facility: $3,257,800
Staff: $1,192,800
Surgical: $1,353,600
Transportation: $36,000
Total: $5,840,200





Population Served

Blind and Vision Impaired



Program 6

Virtual Reality Cataract Surgical Training Simulator

HelpMeSee is designing, developing and manufacturing a virtual reality simulator and courseware to train cataract surgical specialists in Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS). The design calls to achieve a level of realism that is virtually indistinguishable from live surgery performed by an experienced surgeon. This will replace traditional MSICS training with simulator-based proficiency training rather than using it as an adjunct to live training. HelpMeSee is applying the aviation FAA level D (one of the highest standards in aviation) simulator standard both as a quality standard and as a template for developing the simulator.

The groundbreaking HelpMeSee MSICS Simulator will provide visual and tactile realism, coupled with sophisticated courseware, enabling trainees to practice the MSICS procedure under every pre-existing and nearly every complication scenario.

HelpMeSees’s use of such high-fidelity simulation is based on commercial pilot training, where high-fidelity simulation has been proven to produce outstanding safety and performance outcomes. HelpMeSee’s surgical simulator will replicate aviation’s enviable record of consistent safety and performance results while providing training that is quick, effective, and cost-efficient—enabling HelpMeSee to treat more people more quickly and ensuring that all surgical procedures are performed at the highest quality and at minimal cost.

The simulator, used in conjunction with sophisticated courseware software, provides an endless supply of virtual eyes and unlimited opportunities for practice without endangering patients. The simulator training will be combined with Instructor Based Training (IBT), Computer Based Training (CBT) and Simulator Based Training (SBT) instructional curriculum and learning management systems.

Simulator Cost
Simulator costs include hardware and software design, courseware, tech support, staffing and final production: $500,000





Population Served




Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    HelpMeSee is a campaign to eliminate cataract blindness worldwide, by delivering safe, effective and low cost surgeries to adults and children in communities living in the most austere economic and social conditions:

    - This will be achieved through delivery of 50 -60 million manual small incision cataract surgeries

    - Training of 30,000 cataract surgical specialists using advanced simulation based technologies adapted from experience in aviation.

    - Establishing at least one surgical facility for every 250,000 population capable of delivering 2,500 surgeries a year.

    - Global campaign to raise the financial resources to eliminate cataract blindness with significant partnership and contributions by country governments, private and public fundraising and major funding commitment by participants in the 'giving pledge'.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    HelpMeSee strategy is composed of the following:

    1. Design and development of a surgical training simulator using physics based model of the human eye with virtually indistinguishable properties. The simulator will enable repeated surgical practice to train to proficiency and every possible complication and combinations.

    2. Establishment of 4 - 6 regional learning centers capable of training 1,000 trainees at any given time and support recurrent training for 7,000 to 8,000 qualified surgeons.

    3. Implementation of a standardized patient safety: surgical quality assurance; patient outcome; and partner performance reporting system using cloud based network and communications systems.

    4. Standardized use of pre-sterilized, single use, surgical kits to ensure quality and eliminate surgical infection.

    5. Community level surveillance, awareness and mobilization using geographic information systems and voice based data gathering systems to evidence based practice of cataract blindness elimination.

    6. Payment for surgical services and incentives to specialist cataract surgeons participating in the HelpMeSee campaign.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    HelpMeSee is a world-class team drawn from fields of surgical medicine, simulation, learning, information technology, marketing and international health and development.

    HelpMeSee has a globally distributed net-work of corporate and institutional partners who provide the most specialized technical components.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The key indicators of success of HelpMeSee campaign are:

    1. Number of persons with restored sight who have received successful cataract surgery worldwide.

    2. Communities and geographic regions where cataract blindness is eliminated.

    3. Number of best trained cataract specialist surgeons graduating through HelpMeSee learning centers.

    4. Number of clinics successfully delivering high quality surgery from 1,000 to 2,500 annually.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    1. As of January 2016 - over 235,000 sight saving surgeries successfully completed.

    2. Over 242 cataract specialist surgical partners enrolled with HelpMeSee.

    3. Cataract surgical simulator prototype successfully tested, courseware design completed, version 1 production in progress.

    4. Training centers in initial stages.

    5. Single use, pre-sterilized surgical kits developed & in use by partners.

    6. Surgical quality assurance and reporting systems successfully piloted and operational.

    7. Geographic information systems based community mobilization and evidence based cataract elimination practice in pilot.

service areas


Self-reported by organization


The organization's Blog

Social Media








External Reviews

The review section is powered by Great Nonprofits


Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.


Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Knowledge Base Search
Get all this now for free
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.




Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Knowledge Base Search
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.


Mr. Mohan Jacob Thazhathu


Mohan Thazhathu joined James Ueltschi in 2008 to launch HelpMeSee. Mohan established HelpMeSee’s base of operations in New York City after officially assuming the position of CEO and President of HelpMeSee in 2010. Previously, Mohan was Chief Operating Officer of ORBIS International, CEO of ORBIS Canada, and Managing Director of ORBIS Taiwan. He has held various executive leadership positions with Plan International, one of the world’s leading development organizations and has lived in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. In 2001, Mohan was Plan International’s Representative to the UN and Lead for the special session on the Rights of the Child at the United Nation’s General Assembly.


"Blindness is the most feared disability throughout the history of the human race. In medicine as well as in religion, eliminating blindness is a long-cherished goal of humanity. This is a goal that drives the HelpMeSee campaign and a goal that inspires us to successfully navigate and overcome the boundaries faced by others before us. Since its inception, HelpMeSee has developed and implemented a philosophy of converging the best technologies to benefit humanity and at the lowest costs to our donors and constituents. This convergence, which started with the MSICS Simulator development and courseware, has grown to include the initial development of a Geographic Information System for patient and surgical outcome reporting, pre-sterilized, single-use MSICS surgical kits—All expected to be tested in 2014 and implemented in 2015.

Today the causes of blindness are well known and our campaign approach continues to grow to meet, and surpass, the effective solutions required. These solutions must be accessible to people living in the developing world who are suffering from this curable disease. Currently, It remains beyond the reach of most people living in very austere circumstances in the developing world, but the HelpMeSee campaign is rapidly expanding to close that gap. The answer relies on affordable, high-quality surgical care, which can eliminate the vast majority, 70% of all blindness, which is due to cataracts. This is our programmatic focus.

With the best team of experts in medicine, technology, learning and community mobilization, together with engaged donors and public support, HelpMeSee is truly a global campaign to eliminate cataract blindness. It is a great privilege to be a part of the vision and mission
of HelpMeSee. Thank you for your support and for joining the HelpMeSee campaign."



Mr. James Tyler Ueltschi

James T. Ueltschi Foundation, Al Ueltschi Foundation


GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization



Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?