Christian Eye Ministry (CEM) was founded in 1983, with the goal “to eliminate unnecessary blindness by establishing and supporting low-cost, locally managed eye centers to offer the world’s poorest communities modern eye care as an expression of the Christian message”. CEM founder and medical missionary to Africa, Dr. Frank Winter and his wife Joy, an ophthalmic nurse, were convinced no matter how many volunteers were mobilized to provide free eye care services, they could not possibly eradicate the growing backlog of unnecessary blindness in the world. They believed the way to make a long-term impact on eye care worldwide was:
To develop increasingly self-sustaining eye clinics
To build on the talents and resources of the local community
For Western volunteers to transfer skills to local eye care providers
To mentor indigenous providers in a way that brings about local solutions to local problems.