How it Started
Drs. Katherine Johnson, Michael Feilmeier and Jessica Feilmeier established the Gift of Sight Foundation with the singular goal of restoring sight to patients living needlessly in darkness. Presently, there are over 39 Million people in the world who are blind and over 50% of them can be cured with a procedure that has a consumable cost of $25 and takes 5 minutes to perform. With vision restored these individuals can once again look into the eyes of a loved one, walk unassisted across a street, return to work and find their way back to being apart of a family and community that no longer sees them as a burden.
The Gift of Sight Foundation pledges to use 100% of every dollar donated to cure blindness and promises that for every $25 donation received a person will regain the gift of sight as all funds are directed to covering the costs of the consumables needed for each surgery. To make good on our pledge that all donations are used to fund surgeries our team donates their time running Gift of Sight and pay their own travel as well any costs associated to food and accommodations during outreaches sponsored by Gift For Sight.
To date, the efforts of Drs. Johnson, Feilmeier and Jessica have resulted in thousands of sight-restoring surgeries on patients living in Nepal, Ethiopia, Peru, Ghana, Somalia, Kenya and Haiti.
Jessica Feilmeier – President
Exposed to the world of humanitarian healthcare through her husband, Dr. Michael Feilmeier, Jessica left a career in business development for Fortune 500 companies to dedicate her skills to the cause of global blindness prevention.
Her expertise in solution-based marketing, brand development and event planning and execution has aided her in raising awareness and funding for Gift of Sight.
Jessica Feilmeier is also the hailed developer of Opening Eyes, a web portal, that has been adopted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology as its NGO Resource Guide. Designed to connect eye health organizations in real time within the countries they are working this program is changing the way eye care delivery is being given around the world allowing for better collaboration amongst eye care providers. (www.openingeyes.org)
Jessica Feilmeier began her career in broadcasting upon graduating from San Diego State University, where she majored in Communications with an emphasis in Advertising and a minor in Political Science. Graduating with Honors, Jessica was the only graduate in her class to complete the SDSU’s Honors Program. She was also the recipient of the Dean Margery Warmer Woman of the Year Award for her role in founding Lambda Pi Eta’s Pi Beta Chapter: SDSU’s 1st National Communications Honor Society.
Katherine Johnson, MD – Vice President
A certified Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology, Dr. Katherine Johnson began her education by graduating with honors from Harvard University. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and completed her specialty training in Ophthalmology at the renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida—an institution which continues to be ranked the #1 eye hospital in the nation by US News and World Report.
Dr. Johnson has established herself as a highly motivated and caring physician, dedicating six months to treating patients in rural Mexico, and additionally working with the Seva Foundation to perform cataract surgery in rural Nepal.
Dr. Johnson has been accepted as a Fellow into the American College of Surgeons, and has received the Visionary Award for her tireless dedication to the cause of treating and curing preventable blindness around the world.
Michael Feilmeier, MD – Medical Director
Michael Feilmeier, M.D. has made it his life’s pursuit to see that no one lives needlessly in darkness.
Exposed to global blindness prevention as a medical student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. Feilmeier’s most pivotal moment came during a month-long trip to Nepal where he witnessed surgical teams performing 5-minute eye surgeries in remote mountain villages for the consumable cost of $25.
Watching people cry tears of joy as they realized their sight was regained was the moment when that he could foresee a life and career dedicated to global blindness prevention.
Dr. Feilmeier turned that inspiring moment into a lifelong commitment to help people who are most in need of eye care. Dr. Feilmeier obtained his undergraduate degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University. He went on to obtain his medical degree and graduated with high distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine.
Following medical school, Dr. Feilmeier was selected for residency training in Ophthalmology at the world-renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (BPEI) at the University of Miami. US News and World Report has ranked BPEI the #1 eye hospital and residency training program in the country for the last 12 consecutive years. Dr. Feilmeier then went on to pioneer and complete an additional year of surgical fellowship training in corneal transplantation and the prevention of global blindness at the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Following his training, Dr. Feilmeier returned to Omaha where he joined Midwest Eye Care as a cornea, cataract and refractive surgeon. He performs free cataract surgery through Mission Cataracts in his clinic at Midwest Eye Care for uninsured patients within the community.
Dr. Feilmeier is a past-President and active member of the Nebraska Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, and is an affiliated ophthalmologist with the Himalayan Cataract Project.
Thomas Rose – CFO
Tom was introduced to the world of Global Eye Care through Mike and Jessica Feilmeier. Being an old goat himself, he knows the important of being able to see.
His expertise has proven invaluable to Gift of Sight.
Micah Hoffman, Esq. – Board Member
Micah was introduced to the world of Global Eye Care through Mike and Jessica Feilmeier. Upon learning that Cataract Surgery is the most cost effective medical treatment available and that some 20 Million people live needlessly in darkness she approached Gift of Sight with the intent to make her skills available to the organization.
Her insurance practice focuses on insurance coverage and bad faith litigation. Micah’s experience includes providing assistance to insurance carriers in the evaluation of insurance coverage issues and balancing policy interpretation against potential coverage litigation, as well as pursuing and defending coverage and bad faith litigation on behalf of insurance carriers. Micah’s appellate experience includes post-trial motions, appeals, and writs.
Micah’s prior experience also includes ERISA and employee benefits planning, estate planning, business transactions and general civil litigation.
Her expertise has proven invaluable to Gift of Sight.