The inspiration for the HelpMeSee campaign began in the late 1970s. It was then that Albert L. Ueltschi dedicated himself to fighting blindness in the developing world. He was convinced that training of local providers so they could serve their communities was the answer.
As founder and leader of FlightSafety International, the world’s foremost aviation training company, he thought that he had the skills and dedication to make a difference. Today, FlightSafety is part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. FSI is a global leader in aviation simulation technology training, providing more than 3,000 individual courses for 135 aircraft types, using more than 300 simulators to serve customers from 154 countries.
begin in the late
individual courses for 135 aircraft types
simulators to serve customers
Al also co-founded and led Orbis International for 30 years. A global nonprofit best known for its “Flying Eye Hospital,” Al Ueltschi lead the effort to outfit the original McDonnell Douglas DC-8 airplane and later, it successor the DC-10 wide body. For the first time, volunteer ophthalmologists could reach out to all corners of the globe to treat avoidable blindness of all types and to strengthen eye care practices in developing countries through training.
Al realised that while the Flying Eye Hospital programme continued to do great work, it lacked the scalability needed to provide access to the millions of cataract blind, which is, by far, the single largest cause of treatable blindness.
It wasn’t long into the new millennium when he began investigating the possible use of high fidelity simulation technology and other aviation instructional techniques to train highly skilled cataract specialists to solve the problem of cataract treatment access. Al co-founded HelpMeSee with his son, Jim Ueltschi, with a singular purpose: to eliminate cataract blindness.
He brought to HelpMeSee more than a half a century’s experience in simulation-based aviation training to successfully design and develop a virtual reality eye surgical simulator to train to proficiency 30,000 cataract specialists.
Al passed away in October 2012, but not before signing the Giving Pledge along with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. As of this report, together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the A.L. Ueltschi Foundation and the Jim Ueltschi Foundation collectively contributed the start-up cost to successfully launch the HelpMeSee campaign to eliminate blindness caused by cataract.