Our Mission:
To eliminate preventable and treatable blindness by increasing affordability and access to quality, comprehensive, and sustainable eye care services worldwide

Our Story

Founded in 1961 by John Harry King Jr., MD as the International Eye Bank, IEF changed its focus from corneal transplantation to prevention of blinding diseases in 1965 and changed its name to the International Eye Foundation to ensure the delivery of eye care to underserved communities throughout the developing world.

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Our Values

IEF is changing how eye care is delivered

by transforming private, government, and charity eye hospitals into social enterprises that see all economic levels of society. We work closely with local ophthalmologists to develop a sliding fee structure including zero cost based on products and services from which the patients make their own choices. IEF builds capacity for quality clinical and patient services through clinical and management training, creating efficiencies and a level of self-financing, and including eye care services for the poor. By increasing the number of patients examined in the OPD by 10% to 40% year on year, increasing cataract surgery by at least 10% up to 300% year on year, and by increasing earned revenue by 10% to 30% year on year, existing resources and newly trained ophthalmologists will make a huge impact on blindness rates. Additionally, the hospitals themselves will have the capacity to afford and maintain sub-specialists such as retina specialists who require expensive technology to treat patients with macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Strong institutions can grow and expand services. Weak ones dependent on outside resources cannot.

Promote change in the private sector to become more social, and in the public and NGO sector to be more business oriented.

Develop trusting long-term relationships, inspire eye care providers, and promote effective teams to enable change.

Create comprehensive, focused, efficient, and high quality eye care systems that serve all patient populations, including the poor.

Design services around patient needs and create transparent service choices.

Achieve positive cost recovery through revenue generation, diversification and balancing donor inputs to grow services and reduce dependence.

Develop data to demonstrate effectiveness and communicate best practices to influence policy.

  • Mentoring a "team" vs. individuals is critical to buy-in throughout the service.

  • Mentoring is not just training. It is building a relationship and trust as well as financial investments in building capacity of the mentee, and 2-4 years of solid follow-up.

  • IEF looks for eye clinics and hospitals that are willing to change and adapt to IEF's sustainability model: Private practices that wish to incorporate services for the poor, NGO and charity hospitals that wish to find creative ways of earning revenue to subsidize the poor, clinics that IEF builds in places where services are lacking for the majority of the population, and fostering a network of like-minded development organizations will create a critical mass of sustainable eye care services that will change how eye care is delivered in the developing world.

Who We Are


The IEF staff in professional and administrative positions are employed at headquarters and in the field.

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Board of Directors

The IEF active volunteer Board of Directors meets at least four times per year.

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Our History


Founded by Dr. John Harry King Jr., a distinguished military ophthalmologist and corneal transplant pioneer, along with Dr. Thomas A. Dooley, a missionary South-East Asia, establish the International Eye Bank, an arm of CARE/Medico, the forerunner of the International Eye Foundation.

At the request of the Hong Kong Ophthalmological Society, a team of three ophthalmic surgeons, Dr. King, Dr. John M. Mclean, and Dr. Charles E. Iliff went to the then British Crown Colony of Hong Kong in the Fall to perform 35 corneal transplant operations and help the Chinese ophthalmologist to organize an effective eye bank.

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Our Founder

Dr. John Harry King, Jr.

Our Founder
– Dr. John Harry King, Jr.
IEF Founder, 1910-1986

“If you restore the sight of one man, you benefit one man. If you teach one man how to restore sight, you benefit many men. And if you teach many men, you benefit mankind.”

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Financial Accountability


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Annual Reports

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