Sight for Souls is a Christian nonprofit organization transforming lives and communities in the Global South through the gift of sight for the body and soul. Motivated by the love and example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we seek to alleviate blindness through sustainable programs in areas with the greatest need. Our inaugural project is the establishment of the Discovery Eye Institute (DEI) in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. The DEI is a joint initiative of Ethiopian and American ophthalmologists to provide world class clinical care and serve as a leader in advanced training for doctors and eye care personnel in Africa.


  • Christian Identity

    Sight for Souls is committed to caring for the spiritual and emotional needs of patients and their families affected by blindness in the developing world. In all our endeavors, we aim to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ through our words and actions and conduct all aspects of our organization with honesty and integrity. We will partner with local churches and ministries and all communities who invite us to serve, in order to build the Church strategically where we work, maintaining a special focus on the urban and rural poor.

  • Innovation

    Sight for Souls is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art clinical and surgical eye care to alleviate the burden of avoidable blindness in sub-Saharan Africa. Our commitment to excellence in providing world-class service requires that our work be innovative, sustainable and scalable. Our cutting edge technology and expertise in cataract and refractive surgery will provide service to all, while providing revenue to subsidize care for the poor.

  • Training

    Sight for Souls is focused on training African ophthalmologists eye health professionals to lead and provide world-class eye care to currently underserved sub-Saharan Africa. To achieve this goal, we are developing an internationally accredited program for residency and comprehensive subspecialty care training. We also value investment in job creation and staff development at all levels of the organization.

  • Public Health

    Sight for Souls has developed a strategy for reaching the rural communities of Ethiopia, which bear the heaviest burden of poverty-related eye disease. Through short-term clinical and surgical projects, community education and screening programs, and public health initiatives, we aim to enable people and their communities to reach their full potential and overcome barriers from blindness.

  • Research

    Sight for Souls will mobilize the extensive research experience of its leaders to improve ophthalmic services, residency training and community health efforts. We are determined to identify and implement best practices in alleviating blindness in underserved areas and to openly share our findings to benefit the global community.

Ethiopia is the epicenter of trachoma, a blinding eye disease (30% of African burden)


Demissie Tadesse, MD

Demissie Tadesse, MD

Demissie Tadesse, MD is a leading Ethiopian ophthalmologist with 18 years of clinical experience. An exceptional anterior segment surgeon, Dr. Demissie is an honorary Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Addis Ababa University. He is an established leader of blindness alleviation programs in Eastern Africa, having provided transformational leadership as Director of Sabatia Eye Hospital in Kenya for six years. During his tenure, Sabatia became self-sustaining and one of the three highest volume ophthalmic surgical centers in Kenya. He is former President of the Ophthalmological Society of Ethiopia and Chair of the National Committee for Blindness Prevention. Dr. Demissie presently serves as Eastern Africa Regional Blindness Consultant for Christian Blind Mission International.

John Kempen, MD, MPH, MHS, PhD

John Kempen, MD, MPH, MHS, PhD

John Kempen, MD, MPH, MHS, PhD is an internationally renowned academic ophthalmologist and researcher specializing in inflammatory disorders of the eye (a specialty completely unrepresented in sub-Saharan Africa including South Africa). His research has resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and he continues to lead multiple large-scale US and international research projects. He formerly directed the Public Health Ophthalmology Program at Johns Hopkins, one of the two leading international ophthalmology programs in the world. He serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief of Ophthalmic Epidemiology and on three additional editorial boards, including as Executive Editor emeritus for the ocular inflammation section of the American Journal of Ophthalmology. He is a Professor of Ophthalmology and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania where he serves as Division Director for Ocular Inflammation and for Ophthalmic Epidemiology and International Ophthalmology.

Scott Lawrence, MD, MDiv, ThM

Scott Lawrence, MD, MDiv, ThM

Scott Lawrence, MD, MDiv, ThM is an academic ophthalmologist specializing in glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in the world. With extensive international experience, he currently serves as Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Division Director for Glaucoma at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. He is a nationally recognized expert and lecturer on cataract surgery and the management of glaucoma, with numerous peer-reviewed articles in his specialty. Dr. Lawrence is an experienced educator and is heavily engaged in clinical and surgical ophthalmology resident education. He supervises an AUPO-certified glaucoma fellowship program and has mentored numerous visiting international fellows. Dr. Lawrence also coordinates a state-of-the-art surgical training lab for cataract surgery and glaucoma instruction. His research interests include treatment adherence, glaucoma surgical outcomes, and gene-based therapy for glaucoma.