When: December 2014 Weather 10-20C
Leica M240. 35mm summilux F1.4
After three nights in Kathmandu, we set off on Christmas morning on our main mission, to do a cataract surgical eye camp in Hetauda, at the Hetauda Community Eye Hospital, set up by the main Tilganga Eye Institute in Kathmandu. This institute is led by the remarkable Dr Sanduk Ruit, a man who has dedicated his life to eradicating cataract blindness in impoverished parts of the world. Hetauda is a southern city across a mountain range, not very far as the crow flies but a long way by road….we chose to go there by the shortest most direct route over the mountains and this still took more than 5 hours with one stop for lunch….very scenic but long and bumpy!
the road to Hetauda cross the mountains
pretty fields of mustard
lunch was taken in a little roadside cafe…fried fish and chicken were nice
local child at the cafe
the town of hetauda, taken from a hill above the suspension bridge over the Rapti River
Hetauda Community Eye Hospital
400 patients had been screened and identified to have cataracts requiring surgery
they were housed in hired tents as many had come from afar
inside the tent
patients were gowned and patiently waited their turns
pre-operative preparations with injections of local anaesthesia
the redoubtable Dr Ruit at work, he was able to do more than 50 cases a day, something many of us would find exhausting!
We did a combination of modern phacoemulsification surgery and manual small incision cataract surgery, implanting lenses made at the Tilganga Institute itself, lenses which are exported to may other countries at very low cost. All this surgery was of course gratis to the patients and we are grateful to the many donors, not least of which the Fred Hollows foundation from Australia.
The Fred Hollows Lens Implant facility
Dr N Tan at work with manual small incision cataract surgery
the team breaking for lunch in between surgeries
the day after the first surgeries, the patients receive instructions on post-op eye care
opening the eye patches, some of the patients were able to see well for the first time in years..
this man had been blind for more than 10 years…
He had dense cataracts in both eyes and was offered surgery to both; he however insisted on only having one eye done…here the left eye can be seen to still have a whitish-brown cataract whilst the right pupil is clear
This was his 4 year old daughter whom he had never seen before!
The patients did very well and this was repeated for three days resulting in 400 successful surgeries
This outreach cataract eye camp was ultimately the most fulfilling part of our trip to Nepal. For more information and if you would like to help, please visit the Tilganga website.