Sight has been restored to 747 North Koreans thanks to surgical workshops conducted by Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, Nepal, and supported by The Foundation.

Nepal’s Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology recently performed an eight-day workshop in North Korea, assisting local doctors and nurses carry out 747 sight saving operations.

The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology carried out the work with the support of The Fred Hollows Foundation, which helps build eye care services in some of the world’s most remote and troubled regions.

"Fred Hollows always said that all the people of the world should have access to good quality eye health services, no matter where they live. That was his approach, and it’s our approach. This is about putting people before politics," said The Foundation’s CEO Brian Doolan.

The workshop also allowed local medical staff to practise efficient and affordable cataract surgery.

The team from Tilganga donated 2,200 intraocular lenses and an array of surgical equipment.

Supported by The Fred Hollows Foundation, Tilganga has visited North Korea six times since 2005 and is dedicated to improving the quality of eye surgery through surgical workshop training.

Local eye specialists do work within North Korea’s health care system, but they often lack the specific training required to surgically treat cataract blindness.

The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology is based in Nepal and through Dr Sanduk Ruit, has a close affiliation with The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Dr Ruit, the Medical Director at the Institute, was a friend of Fred Hollows and shares his vision for helping those needlessly suffering from blindness. He has personally performed over 100,000 sight saving operations.

The focus of The Foundation's support in North Korea is to train eye care doctors and nurses, and to improve the country's capacity to deliver quality eye health services.

A total of 3,500 eye operations have been performed in North Korea over the last five years.

>Find out more about our North Korea program.