Biotechnology Blindness

Twelve Images That Show The Fight Against Poverty Blindness In Action

1. A screening in Bajhang

The Bajhang district in Nepal’s far-western region is one of the nation’s most underserved regions. Most patients would have to make a ten-hour journey just to obtain basic eye centre.

In this picture, patients are seen queuing, waiting for their turn for a Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation eye health worker to screen their eyes for possible cataracts and other visual impairments.

2. Biometry in Lumbini

An eye health worker from the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation conducts biometry to determine the power of the intraocular lens that a patient will require to be fitted when receiving her free cataract surgery at an outreach camp in Lumbini, Nepal in March 2021.

3. Waiting for surgery

Some Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation patients await their turn for free surgery to cure them of blindness and visual impairment at a microsurgical camp held in Lumbini, Nepal. During this outreach camp, more than 900 patients were screened and 312 patients were cured of cataract blindness.

4. Dr Sanduk Ruit

Dr Sanduk Ruit is co-founder of the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation and is pictured here with the first batch of his patients during a three-day microsurgical camp in Lumbini, Nepal — the birthplace of Lord Buddha.

For his efforts to cure preventable blindness in the developing world, Dr Ruit has been nicknamed “God of Sight”. Together with Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation co-founder Tej Kohli, Dr Sanduk Ruit is aiming to cure 300,000–500,000 thousand of cataract blindness by approximately 2026.

5. Changing lives at scale

In April, 2021 the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation screened more than 600 patients and cured 178 people of cataract blindness in Solukhumbu, located in the foothills of Mount Everest. In this image, patients share a smile with their doctor after opening their eyes to a beautiful day.

6. Curing congenital cataracts

Amongst the 178 patients cured of blindness in Solukhumbu by the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation was 14-year old Bipana. In the remote hills of Nepal, schools do not have special provisions for the visually impaired. Therefore, for Bipana, blindness meant an early end to her educational journey.

However, with a simple cataract surgery with the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation, Bipana is able to see clearly and live a life without visual impairment. Here, she playfully holds the nose of Dr Ruit, the surgeon who restored her sight by curing her congenital cataracts the previous day.

7. Transforming lives

Shree Mani Rai of the Solukhumbu district, who had been living with cataract blindness for the past four years, is visibly stunned and emotionally overwhelmed as she opens her eyes and is able to see again at a Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation microsurgical camp.

8. A large-scale intervention at Dolakha

Even when the second wave of Covid-19 paused most of the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation’s efforts to cure people of cataract blindness for two months during 2021, the foundation was still able to screen 1,576 people and cure 163 people of cataract blindness in the Dolakha district of Nepal. Here, patients who had their surgery on the first day of the microsurgical camp wait for the doctor to remove their eye patches.

9. An eye opening moment

Of the 163 people cured of blindness in the Dolakha district by the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation was 10-year old Jesika Poudel who had been living with cataract blindness for two years. Here, she is about to open her eyes to see again.

10. Bridging the healthcare gap

In December, 2021, the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation was able to screen 1987 patients, and cure 352 people of cataract blindness in the Bajhang district of Nepal — one of the nation’s most underserved regions in terms of public healthcare.

11. Restoring independence in Surkhet

Amrit Chaudhary of Surkhet district in Nepal would survive on the basic income he would make from weaving baskets. After becoming blind with cataracts in 2019, he was unable to weave and lost his livelihood.

In August, 2021, after successful cataract surgery with the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation, he immediately took out his tools and started weaving again.

According to a study published in The Lancet, investment in the prevention and cure of cataract blindness outweighs its cost by more than 1500% in terms of social and economic improvement during the first postoperative year.

12. Looking forwards

Dr Sanduk Ruit, co-founder of the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation in Phaplu, Solukhumbu after successfully conducting 178 cataract surgeries. Going forwards the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation hopes to cure as many as 300,000 to 500,000 of cataract blindness in the coming few years.

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