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Cataract Surgery Free Camp

Photographer Narendra Shrestha


Seventy year old Nepalese rice farmer Ram Maya Rai toils daily in the paddi fields of the Likhu River, in Nepal’s Nuwakot district, but despite her years she goes about her chores with a new lease of life. Ram, from the village of Patta Bari some 50Km north west of Kathmandu, sees a bright future – now that the vision in her left eye has been fully restored. She was diagnosed with what is termed mature cataracts so practically most of the vision in the eye was lost. Four months after being diagnoses she became aware of the possibility of joining a free health camp, which is jointly organized by Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO) and Phullari Monastry. So, with the support of her eldest son, Jivan Rai, she travelled to the free cataract surgery camp. Cataract is the clouding of the eye lens and the most common cause of blindness. The removal of a cataract was never possible in Nepal before 1990, so many elderly sufferers died without treatment said Khim Gurung, a Program Manager of TIO. The official launch of TIO eye program in 1992, with the initiation of Dr. Sanduk Ruit, helped more than 200,000 people improve their vision after receiving the eye surgery. More than 300 elderly men and women from all over the country gathered at the monastery premises recently for free health treatment in their eyes. Among them was Ram Maya, whose succesfull surgery in her left eye enabled her to continue her active work in her plantation, harvesting paddy crops and putting them in sacks to be sold in the market place.