About Hawaiian Eye Foundation

About Us

Hawaiian Eye Foundation (HEF) is the international service arm of Project Vision Hawai’i.

HEF coordinates and promotes education and eye care in the developing world. Local Hawai’i programs are handled by Project Vision Hawai’i’s Better Vision 4 the Keiki, Hui 4 Health, and Hiehie programs. If you are interested in local Hawai’i work for underserved populations, please explore Project Vision’s programs here.

Hawaiian Eye Foundation’s International Focus:

Since 1984, the non-profit Hawaiian Eye Foundation has been dedicated to promoting the preservation, restoration, and improvement of vision throughout the pacific basin and beyond through charitable service, education, and research programs.

Our Mission:

That all people of the Pacific Rim and beyond will have access to quality eye care.

What We Do:

The two pillars to our organization are:

  1. Education (Training programs)
  2. Service (Direct care mission projects)

Established Programs:

Rural Missions to Pacific Basin countries providing humanitarian eye surgery and training.

Training Programs in VietNam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, and soon in Laos, teaching eye surgeons advanced techniques.

In Hawai’i we support eye screenings and other outreach programs for disadvantaged people, Cataract Days program, educational scholarships, equipment and supply donations, and research projects benefiting unserved and underserved people of the Pacific.

Royal Hawaiian Eye Meetings providing continuing education for U.S. eye surgeons annually in January for the past 40 years.

Self-sustainable Clinics providing jobs to local healthcare workers and primary eye care local patients in Hawaiian Eye Foundation’s absence.

Telemedicine communication assisting and teaching local doctors from afar.

Our History:

John Corboy, M.D. founded the prestigious Hawaiian Eye Center. He had nine offices across the state to serve all of Hawai’i, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. To all he gave the same VIP care, including a flight to O’ahu, a limo waiting at the airport, and a place to stay the night after surgery.

Dr. Corboy also founded the Royal Hawaiian Eye Meeting (RHEM). The RHEM is still the third largest eye meeting in the country and hosts doctors from all over the world. This was the start of the HEF’s commitment to education because by sharing best practices and modern techniques, the best care can be provided. Dr. Corboy used the funds from the RHEM to begin humanitarian missions. The Hawaiian Eye Foundation (HEF) was born in Tonga. Dr. Corboy was inspired by the passion that Dr. Jeffrey Rutgard had for the blind impoverished and he invited Dr. Rutgard to join the Hawaiian Eye Foundation as Director of Ophthalmology Missions. Through significant personal sacrifice, Dr. Rutgard expanded the humanitarian services of HEF from Tonga to 3-dozen countries doing more humanitarian eye surgery in more developing countries than any other ophthalmologist. He has been invited to teach eye surgical techniques all over the world.  Dr. Rutgard’s full time commitment to giving the gift of sight to the blind poor, world wide, represents the most noble of humanitarian dedication. Thanks to Dr. Corboy’s leadership and Dr. Rutgard’s passion, we proudly serve, each year, over 24 worldwide locations to help end cataract blindness.


PO BOX 23212,
Honolulu, HI 96823
Phone: (808) 201-3937
Hawaiian Eye Foundation is a division of Project Vision Hawaii.

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