In Nepal, hundreds of thousands of people are living with avoidable blindness and visual impairment. 

Seven children lose their vision in Nepal every day. The most common cause of childhood blindness is refractive error, while 60,000 adults in the country become blind every year because of untreated cataract.
For people aged 50 years and older, cataract is by far the leading cause of blindness in Nepal, representing 62.2% of all cases. Other significant causes of blindness and visual impairment are glaucoma, trachoma and diabetic retinopathy. 

It is estimated that 82% of people over 50 years of age who are needlessly blind and would not have lost their sight if they had better access to affordable eye care services.

This lack of access is due to a shortage of eye health professionals, inadequate equipment and services and an absence of comprehensive eye care services in rural and remote areas. 

People living with avoidable blindness often end up missing out on treatment because they cannot afford or access services.  

  • 62.2% of blindness in Nepal is caused by cataract  
  • An estimated 30,2402 children are blind

  • The leading causes of childhood blindness and visual impairment are corneal blindness, retinal dystrophy and lens pathology

  • Nearly 275,000 people have visual impairment

  •  82% of people who are blind are needlessly blind 


The world has opened up again for Chini

Chini had been a strong and capable woman, but when cataracts took her sight, they also took many of the things that mattered to her – like being able to visit the temple and pray. Like many Nepalese people, Chini couldn't have afforded eye surgery. In developing countries, blindness can impact the whole family. An eye clinic supported by The Fred Hollows Foundation was her only chance to have her sight restored. 


The Foundation’s programs in Nepal

Fred Hollows and Dr Sanduk Ruit met in Nepal in the mid ‘80s while Fred was consulting for the World Health Organisation.


They soon realised they shared a common dream: to end avoidable blindness in developing countries through introducing modern surgery techniques.


Fred and Dr Ruit set about planning to build an intraocular lens factory to mass-produce these vital lenses needed for cataract surgery. They knew producing them locally would bring the cost down significantly.


Fred became Dr Ruit’s mentor, and after studying with Fred in Sydney, Dr Ruit went on to help establish the Fred Hollows Intraocular Lens Laboratory with the help of The Foundation.

In 1994, the same year the factory opened, Dr Ruit became the medical director of the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Nepal – a key partner of The Foundation. It’s now a world-class facility and is still led by master surgeon Dr Ruit, who has restored sight to over 120,000 people.


We work very closely with the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology to train eye care personnel, build facilities, conduct community outreach clinics, and implement eye health programs that have made a real difference to people’s lives.


Helping people see

  • 808,186 people screened
  • 112,341 eye operations and treatments performed including:
  • 45,332 cataract operations
  • 436 diabetic retinopathy treatments
  • 66,573 other sight saving or improving interventions

Investing in people:

  • 374 people trained including:
  • 16 clinic support staff
  • 184 community health workers
  • 174 teachers trained