Gabi Hollows has paid tribute to Dr Pararajasegaram, affectionately known as 'Dr Para', a leading ophthalmologist and friend of Fred and Gabi's since 1977.

Dr Para was the former President of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and in 1999 launched Vision 2020, a global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness. He died recently in Chennai, India.

"Dr Para was a very dear friend long before The Fred Hollows Foundation even existed," Ms Hollows said.

"In the 1970s he travelled with us for a year to remote communities around Australia as part of the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program. His wife Ruby, also an ophthalmologist, joined us for six months of the trip, too.

"Dr Para was a fount of knowledge. He not only opened doors for us to help people internationally, he also made eye health a global issue.

"After that trip around Australia, he asked Fred to be a consultant to the World Health Organization's prevention of blindness program and later invited us to Nepal for the first time. This became the launchpad to our work in Asia.

"Thanks to Dr Para, what we did on the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program became the blueprint for so much of the work we carry out in other countries.

"Dr Para was part of the Hollows gang and his family became ours. In 2016, his niece Sumithra travelled with us to Bourke, NSW, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program

"The world of ophthalmology is one big family and we have lost a precious soul.

"The Fred Hollows Foundation sends our thoughts to Dr Para's daughters and extended family."

Photo: courtesy IAPB