Sight restored to 187 people in remote Nepal

The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, with support from The Fred Hollows Foundation, has examined almost 1,100 people and restored sight to 187 during a three day outreach eye camp in the remote district of Rolpa, Nepal.

An outreach surgical team travelled for two days over extremely difficult terrain to reach the district capital of Liwang, where a mobile surgical eye clinic was pieced together at a local school.

Patients walked for up to two days to receive sight restoring cataract surgery - surgery that would otherwise not be available to them due to the district's remote location. Some patients were led to the camp by family members as young as 12 and some were even carried in on the backs of loved ones over high mountains.  

The Deputy Medical Director of Tilganga, Dr Reeta Gurung, led the outreach team which specifically targeted cataract blindness.

"Cataract blindness has a massive impact [in Rolpa]," Dr Reeta said.  

"If you are blind here, you really are quite isolated. The children of those blind people, usually the sons, have to go work in the fields to get income for the family. The grandchildren have to stay home and look after the grandparents, missing school as a result."

"The whole family is involved in the blindness of that person."

Dr Reeta said that although this type of remote eye camp is very challenging for everyone involved, the reward of seeing sight restored to people who would otherwise have no access to eye services is "humbling".

"If the patient can go home with vision and walking again, that's the best thing you can ever do," Dr Reeta said.

The Fred Hollows Foundation has been working in Nepal with the internationally renowned Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (formerly called the Tilganga Eye Centre) since 1994 to treat and prevent cataract blindness.

>Find out more about our program in Nepal.
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