Getting back to basics

We fix eyes.

Sometimes it’s good to take stock, get back to basics and remind ourselves why Fred and Gabi started The Foundation more than 20 years ago. You see, Fred Hollows was a straight shooter. He wasn’t one for wasting time, meetings or fuss – Fred wanted to fix eyes, and that was that.

That’s why for our Christmas appeal, we wanted to get back to basics: to cataract and why fixing eyes was so important to Fred. So we got in touch with Fred’s old mate and original chairman of The Foundation, Ray Martin. Ray came with us to Laos to see The Fred Hollows Foundation support a sight saving operation on seven month old twins, Samlan and Sintham who were suffering from cataract blindness.

When Fred was a young doctor, he was told that if he wanted to make a real difference in Africa, he was going to have to learn how to take out of a cataract. So he did – and dedicated his life to it. Cataract was also the disease Fred and Dr Sanduk Ruit bonded over many years ago. It was the catalyst for their plan to set up Intraocular Lens (IOL) factories to make cataract surgery more affordable in developing countries.


As it was in Fred’s time, cataract is still the leading cause of blindness worldwide. However, most cases of cataract blindness can be fixed – like what happened in Laos. The twins’ operations were everything Fred would have loved: restoring sight, giving Samlan and Sintham a more positive future and for Ray to witness it. And as Ray said afterwards, “it would have made old Fred smile”.

So during this festive period, let’s go back to what’s important – people helping one another. In developing countries, 4 out of 5 people who are blind don’t need to be. However, we know by working together, so much can be achieved. 

Let's fix eyes.
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