Global Cataract Relief Foundation’s founder, Michael Picarella, spent over 25 years in ophthalmic surgical sales, specializing in cataract surgery. During that time, cataract surgery evolved from a manual extracapsular procedure, with a 12mm incision and an average of 45 minutes per case, to a phacoemulsification procedure, with a 2.4mm sutureless incision, and an average of 10 minutes per case. However, most of these advances have not been achievable in the world’s poorest countries due to educational and financial constraints.
During this same period, our founder experienced his own health crisis. After personally achieving remission from a blood cancer, sadly, his wife then passed away due to breast cancer. These traumatic life events only reinforced his understanding of how critically important accessible health care is for all people. Combining his knowledge of ophthalmology, along with his desire to bring medical care to those less fortunate, led to the creation of GCR Foundation.