Eye Center Mission Statement – La Familia Eye Center (LFEC) is committed to preventing and reversing vision loss in all people of western Guatemala and southern Chiapas, regardless of means. We provide high-quality, self-sustaining, and locally driven care in an environment of continuous learning and innovation.

When a person’s eyesight is restored, it can mean the difference for a family between starvation and survival.

Hospital de la Familia Foundation eye surgery

Poverty and Vision

The majority of patients come to LFEC from the Western Highlands of Guatemala, and Southern Chiapas, Mexico.  This region is primarily indigenous Maya and approximately 75 percent of the population lives in poverty. Education is limited, and 33 percent of the rural indigenous population cannot read or write, leaving manual labor as a means to earn a living. Working in the fields is most common, spending 12+ hours in direct sunshine. The constant exposure to harsh sunlight creates cataracts, growths on the eye, and other scenarios which eventually lead to blindness. A typical day’s earnings in rural Guatemala is less than $2. When a family member goes blind, not only are they unable to contribute to the family’s earnings, they also require additional care, which takes other family members away from earning money.

Hospital de la Familia Foundation eye patients post surgery

The Growing Need for Eye Care

Unlike other demographic health changes, the need for cataract, glaucoma and other types of eye surgeries increases as a population ages, achieves more individual wealth and experiences improved education. Guatemala’s population is expected to increase from 17 to 21 million in the next 10 years (+23 percent). Thus, the prevalence of cataract blindness and all eye disease will increase despite a growing number of ophthalmologists. La Familia Eye Center is the sole charitable eye center.

Hospital de la Familia Foundation - doc volunteer with little boy

Benefits of restoring sight

  • increased earning capacity
  • increased social integration and family involvement

  • increased self-esteem and independence
  • greater safety and mobility
  • engagement with productive activities

If you are interested in volunteering on a team, please visit our Medical Team page for more information

Hospital de la Familia Foundation eye exam


“My heart was deeply touched by my experience as a volunteer. I was moved by the devotion and commitment of all involved with hospital.”