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 Health  Nepal Project #736

Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps

by Himalayan Cataract Project, Inc.
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps

Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology now offers laser-assisted surgery for cataracts:

Himalayan Cataract Project is one of two Signature Initiatives supported by Johnson & Johnson Vision (J&JV). As part of its corporate and social responsibility program, J&JV recently donated a Catalys laser to HCP that was installed at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, a World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Kathmandu, Nepal, and HCP’s flagship partner.

In August, a training consultant from J&JV traveled to Nepal to train a select group of Tilganga ophthalmologists to remove cataracts using the Catalys laser. Eleven senior physicians were trained and certified to use the system, including both the Founder of Tilganga, Dr. Sanduk Ruit, and Tilganga's CEO, Dr. Reeta Gurung. Tilganga is the first location in Nepal and the wider Asian region to be able to perform femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery using the Johnson & Johnson Vision Catalys Laser. This cutting edge technology continues to bolster Tilganga’s ophthalmic expertise as a leading Center of Excellence in the Himalayan region.

The excitement and momentum around the training were tremendous, prompting great interest from an additional cadre of 10-12 ophthalmologists at Tilganga in also becoming certified to use the Catalys.


Meet Khadga, an 80 year old man who received sight-restoring surgery at a cataract outreach event in Ramechhap Nepal, organized by the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology with support from the Himalayan Cataract Project. Accompanied by his only son, Khadga traveled three hours on a very bumpy road to Ramechhap initially for a foot injury. Unbeknownst to Khadga, who was blind in both eyes from cataracts, and his son, a cataract outreach event was happening at the hospital simultaneously.

Blind for the past six years, Khadga was elated to hear he could have his sight restored saying, “how soon can we do it, this would change my life in so many ways.” Due to his blindness and foot injury, Khadga said he had sat in a room in complete darkness for about six months - trapped by his blindness.

When asked what he was looking forward to most Khadga said, “I could do everything again! I would be independent and my family would be unburdened. I could go outside again, and I can’t wait to see my family and my village in the sunshine again.”

This Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) cataract outreach in Nepal provided surgery to over 546 people in a rural area in Sisaut, Nepal. A team from HCP flagship partner, Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology managed the outreach in the Sarlahi District village in the Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal. This outreach marks the first high-volume outreach of the year, in addition, an outreach in Ethiopia was held simultaneously by our partners at Woldia Hospital who performed 261 surgeries. 

Based in Kathmandu, Tilganga is led by Himalayan Cataract Project Co-Founder Dr. Sanduk Ruit, and serves as the Himalayan Cataract Project’s (HCP) base of operations in Asia. While the center operates independently, HCP is closely involved in Tilganga’s infrastructure, outreach and educational programs. 


Sabitra received sight-restoring cataract surgery at a cataract outreach event at Tilganga's Ramechhap Community Eye Clinic in Ramechap, Nepal.

Accompanied by her son, Shikhar, Sabitra traveled over 2 hours by bus to Ramechhap. Following the successful cataract surgery, Sabitra’s vision was restored after 3 years of blindness in her left eye. Due to his mother's blindness, Shikhar had been unable to work. He said he can now go back to work without worrying about his mother and that her surgery had changed the lives of everyone in their family.

Tilganga ophthalmologists Dr. Indira Poudyal and Dr. Bibhuti Thapa were the lead surgeons for the outreach. Two HCP trainees from Ethiopia were also in attendance - Abraham Aregay from Woldiya Hospital and Asamenewu Godama from Arba Minch Hospital - both training in outreach management.

The team from Arba Minch Hospital in action
The team from Arba Minch Hospital in action

Arba Minch Hospital provides almost 1,000 sight restoring surgeries

Partners at Arba Minch Hospital, led by local ophthalmologist Dr. Dawit Gidey, provided 987 sight restoring cataract surgeries in just one week from August 21-27. The full team included HCP Co-Founder, Dr. Geoff Tabin; Hawaiian Eye Foundation Mission Surgeon, Dr. Jeff Rutgard; Hawaiian Eye Foundation Executive Director, Darrah Kauhane; HCP Ghanaian partners, Drs. Oscar Debrah and James Addy; and HCP International Fellow Dr. Allison Jarstad.

In addition to the cataract surgeries, patients were screened for trachoma trichiasis launching a new two year initiative with the Izumi Foundation to implement a combined cataract and trachoma (“TT+”) program with partners at Arba Minch and Quiha Zonal Hospitals. The TT+ program was developed to help HCP’s partners in Ethiopia provide services to those arriving at planned cataract screenings with a variety of non-cataract eye ailments including trachoma. Patients diagnosed with the infectious disease were scheduled to return for surgery in September.


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Organization Information

Himalayan Cataract Project, Inc.

Location: Waterbury, VT - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @CureBlindness
Project Leader:
Geoff Tabin
Waterbury, VT United States
$79,766 raised of $100,000 goal
934 donations
$20,234 to go
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