HCP Cure Blindness

by Himalayan Cataract Project, Inc.
HCP Cure Blindness
HCP Cure Blindness
HCP Cure Blindness
HCP Cure Blindness
HCP Cure Blindness
HCP Cure Blindness
HCP Cure Blindness
HCP Cure Blindness
HCP Cure Blindness
HCP Cure Blindness
HCP Cure Blindness
HCP Cure Blindness

Last month, HCP’s Ethiopian team helped local providers perform over 1,500 sight-restoring cataract surgeries at Boru Meda Hospital over the course of five days. Two of the patients speak to the empowerment they feel with their sight now restored.

The day after surgery at Boru Meda Hospital, hundreds of patients gather under a large white tent set in a rural pasture. With the chill winter winds blowing, they sit wrapped in fuzzy blankets and bold patterned scarves.

The white bandages covering their eyes stand in stark contrast to these bright colors, but with the energy in the tent you’d think you crashed a community campout – not a medical outreach.

Some patients sing to pass the time. Others beam proudly as their bandages are removed and they look their doctor in the eye for the first time. With their sight restored, elderly patients seem to shed 20 years while the younger ones exude a confidence they’ve never known.

This is just a glimpse of last December’s outreach, when the HCP team and our local partners completed 1,575 cataract surgeries at Boru Meda Hospital in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to bear witness to this transformative experience because every outreach reminds us of the true impact that a simple, 15-minute surgery can have on a community.

To give you a taste of that transformation, two patients from this outreach share their stories.


P1080697Meet Mohamed

Sixty-year-old farmer and father of four Mohamed lost his eyesight two years ago. He has only been able to move around by touch or with his children's assistance.

Mohamed could no longer work. He could no longer see the faces of the children that helped him day-to-day. And he feared he would never marry again because of the stigma against blindness in his country.

Then, one day, Mohamed's nephew brought him to Boru Meda Hospital for care. Mohamed was told that his condition was reversible: they could remove his cataracts and restore his sight. All he had to do was come back for a free surgery during the HCP Cureblindness outreach in December.

Mohamed anxiously awaited the day of his surgery, and when that day came, he made the trek to Boru Meda. Within 24 hours his bandages were off and he could see the world that had faded from his view years ago. He could see his children’s smiling faces. And he could envision finding love once again.

As he told us, "Vision is power, and I will marry again.”


P1080715Meet Alto

Alto is a 50-year-old farmer and father of 10. He lost his vision in both eyes about a year ago.

For those of us gifted with good vision, it’s easy to overlook all the things lost – all the opportunities missed – when your sight is impaired. You miss out on life’s simple pleasures, like a beautiful sunset, as well as life’s most precious moments.

Alto’s daughter, Birri, was planning to marry. It broke his heart to think that he wouldn’t be able to witness this milestone in Birri’s life. He was also frustrated and embarrassed that he wouldn’t be able to see and welcome the wedding guests.

Then Alto heard about HCP’s upcoming outreach. So, in December of 2022, Alto came to Boru Meda Hospital. After a simple, 15-minute surgery he waited eagerly for the bandages to come off. When they did the next day, Alto was overjoyed to realize his sight was truly restored.

Today, he looks forward to looking his daughter’s wedding guests in the eye, shaking their hands, and watching as his Birri smiles and dances the night away. "I am happy now to welcome the guests," he explained with a smile on his face.


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Tanzania Outreach
Tanzania Outreach


HCP is partnering with Helen Keller International (HKI) this year in Tanzania. The collaboration, which pairs HKI's expertise in Trachomatous Trichiasis (TT) care and HCP's in cataract care, will ensure that local practitioners reach more patients in need through their already existent TT case finding and clinical flow.

Earlier this year, five Tanzanian eye care professionals attended an outreach in Ethiopia to work directly with staff from the HCP Ethiopia team and HCP Board Member Dr. Matt Oliva during the week-long outreach where nearly 1,200 patients had their sight restored. The team of Tanzanians have worked with HKI to treat Trachomatous Trichiasis (TT) in the Mbeya Region of their home country.

Since their time in Ethiopia, the team of Tanzanians continued to receive support and guidance from HCP from afar to pair their TT case finding with cataract screening. Processes for monthly high-volume cataract surgical outreaches were established and outreach equipment, provided by HCP, arrived in-country to begin work. With over 500 cataract cases identified, the project’s surgical schedule solidified.

HCP’s Co-Founder, Dr. Geoff Tabin, arrived in Mbeya earlier this month to support Dr. Barnabas and his team for their first high-volume cataract outreach. He was supported by two other surgeons from the US to work closely with the Tanzania team of two surgeons, two optometrists, and three ophthalmic nurses to deliver their first high-volume cataract outreach at the Mbarali District Hospital in Rujewa.

The Tanzanian team demonstrated the outreach management skills they’d mastered in Ethiopia, and over four days together, the team restored sight to nearly 300 patients. The exposure to hundreds of surgeries offered an immense opportunity for Dr. Tabin and his team to bolster the HKI team’s clinical skills and small incision cataract surgery expertise.

“My youngest child is eight years old now, and the last time I saw his face was when he was 4 years old. My other relatives and my youngest son still don’t believe that I can really see again. They are waiting to see me prove it,” said a forty-three-year-old man who received surgery in both eyes.

Another patient shared, “I can’t believe that I can see again, I had lost hope.”

At the outreach, long lasting relationships among the Tanzanian and the US teams were built, clinical skills were gained, and the teams showed the true success of the HCP-HKI Mbeya pilot: reaching those in need of care through a collaboration leveraging two organizations’ expertise. Soon, both will look to the neighboring district of Songwe to scale this approach which pairs TT and cataract care to ensure no one is left behind.

Patients Celebrating a Successful Surgery!
Patients Celebrating a Successful Surgery!


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Recently, HCP Co-founder and Chairman Dr. Geoff Tabin along with the HCP Ethiopia team facilitated a surgical outreach at Arba Minch Hospital, an HCP partner in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region of Ethiopia. The area is known for its remote countryside and undeveloped terrain that is home to a wide variety of ethnic communities and peoples, including the Hamar tribe.

In early 2020, two patients from the Hamar tribe made the long journey to an HCP outreach in Hossana, Ethiopia and were among the first people from their community to receive sight-restoring surgery. They inspired the medical teams to organize an outreach event this year that was more accessible to the Hamar with fewer logistical hurdles.

With an outreach at Arba Minch scheduled for the last week of April, advance teams traveled to the Hamar village in the Omo River Valley and provided eye screenings. Those with vision issues were referred to the upcoming outreach. With Arba Minch a full day’s travel from their homes, HCP arranged transportation to and from the outreach for the patients.

Flash flooding and security challenges made patient and team transport more difficult, but members of the Hamar tribe arrived at the outreach safely, along with patients from surrounding areas.

During the eight-day outreach, Dr. Tabin and a handful of Ethiopian surgeons completed 1,055 sight-restoring surgeries on adults and children, sending patients back to their communities with their vision restored.


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Baby Beatrice
Baby Beatrice

Two-month old Baby Beatrice was born with cataracts in both eyes. Her father, Eric, is blind in one eye and has limited vision in the other; he was raised by a blind father and has siblings who are blind. Her mother, Comfort, was born able to see but gradually lost vision in both eyes.

The young parents depend on family to help with their needs, including caring for Beatrice.

Comfort's family noticed Baby Beatrice was developing the same white in her eyes that appear in Comfort's eyes. Worried that Beatrice was also going blind, the family decided to bring her to the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital in Ghana - about a 40-minute trip from their home in Brimsu-Apewusika.

After seeing a pediatric ophthalmologist, Comfort and Eric were told an outreach event supported by HCP and our partners was happing the next day and to bring Beatric back. Eric and Comfort were both nervous about surgery, Comfort crying when thinking about her daughter's future.

Dr. Doreen Frimpong, a pediatric specialist from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, operated on Baby Beatrice. The surgery was provided free of charge to the family, thanks to support from HCP. The day after her surgery, Beatrice was calm in her mother’s arms, with no complications. Although Eric and Comfort may never see Beatrice’s face, she will be able to see theirs.

At this stage, Beatrice is too young to have artificial lenses implanted, so she will use aphakic glasses to improve her sight until she is old enough for additional surgery. Without these glasses, her doctors say her sight will not improve and she will not grow. Beatrice will need regular check-ups to closely monitor her progress.

Eric and Comfort are committed to her eye health and dream of her going to school with other children. That dream can become a reality with your continued support.

We know there are many more "Baby Beatrices" waiting to receive care. Thanks to the kindness of people like you, the Himalayan Cataract Project is able to improve eye care and restore sight to those in need around the world.


Comfort, Eric, and Beatrice
Comfort, Eric, and Beatrice


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High in the Everest region, above 12,000 feet, a team led by the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology’s CEO, Dr. Reeta Gurung conducted a two-day surgical outreach in Khunde, Nepal to celebrate World Sight Day 2021.

Dr. Gurung's team traveled four days on foot to reach the remote villages in the region to first screen patients then perform surgeries. Trekking with pack animals carrying supplies and equipment, the team traversed mountains, glacial streams and waterfalls, taking dirt footpaths and bridges above steep ravines. They reached Khunde, exhausted and hopeful.

During eight days of patient screenings, 927 people were assessed, with glasses and medication distributed to those in need. Following the screenings, 27 patients received cataract surgery (2 patients had surgery in both eyes) at Khunde Hospital. Khunde Hospital is not typically equipped to provide cataract surgery. The operating room was set up for surgery with the supplies brought in by the Tilganga team and their pack animals. Rooms were divided into anesthesia, sterilization, and a main operating theater.

The day after the surgeries, bandages were removed. The 27 patients who received surgery sang and danced with joy in celebration of regaining their eyesight. Dr. Gurung addressed the happy patients, “Great thanks to all of you who trusted us to do your surgery.”

Among the patients who received surgery was Tshering, a 74 year-old man from the remote village of Phorche. Blind from cataracts for two years, Tshering was unable to walk or feed himself without his family’s assistance and had become silent and withdrawn. Tshering’s son, Karma, carried him on his back to the Khunde screening and surgical outreach.

At the outreach, Dr. Reeta Gurung examined Tshering’s eyes and completed his surgeries under local anesthesia. The following day, Dr. Gurung removed the protective eye shields from both of Tshering’s eyes. He was happy to see the doctor's face. For a few moments after the bandages were removed, he did not recognize his son. Joyful surprise filled his face as he realized he was looking at his son, Karma.

Tshering wished blessings on Dr. Gurung and her surgical team. When Karma was asked what made him happier, summiting Mount Everest 12 times or watching his father see the world again, he responded, “I am more happy that my father’s sight is returned.”

Dr. Gurung reflected on the journey to the region, “When we decided to come to the Khumbu area to do this eye camp, we had excitement and at the same time fear, whether we could make it or not. But we did.” She continued and affirmed that, “although it was difficult, this is the best World Sight Day celebration ever.”

Due to its remote, mountainous location, eye care in the Khumbu region is otherwise unattainable, making outreach services essential for patients in need. This outreach was conducted by the District Community Eye Center (DCEC) Solukhumbu, the Tilganga Eye Disease Institute, with local collaboration with Khunde Hospital/Himalayan Trust, the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu rural municipality, and support from the Himalayan Cataract Project.

"Tshering's son, Karma, carried him on his back"
"Tshering's son, Karma, carried him on his back"
Tshering and Dr. Reeta Gurung
Tshering and Dr. Reeta Gurung


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Organization Information

Himalayan Cataract Project, Inc.

Location: Waterbury, VT - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @CureBlindness
Project Leader:
Colleen Beamish
Waterbury , VT United States
$92,128 raised of $100,000 goal
1,154 donations
$7,872 to go
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