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In Nepal, cataracts represent 70% of unnecessary blindness.

The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Kathmandu, led by HCP Co-Founder Dr. Sanduk Ruit, 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. The Himalayas has one of the highest rates of cataract blindness in the world. For this reason, the blind from the Himalayas region were the original focus of HCP and Tilganga.

Each year, an estimated 60,000 Nepalese lose sight to cataracts. Presently, there is a backlog of 200,000 people who are blind from cataracts and need surgery. HCP and Tilganga work diligently to eliminate this backlog by restoring eyesight to these individuals and training additional surgeons to perform cataract surgery.

The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology treats eye patients, trains ophthalmic personnel at all levels, and offers expertise and in-depth support to community centers and ophthalmic teams in Nepal and around the world.

Learn more about the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology

Joyful eye patients in Dolakha, Nepal
Joyful patients at a 2012 Dolakha Mini Outreach Microsurgical Eye Clinic.

HCP also supports the Hetauda Community Eye Hospital in Hetauda, Nepal. More than 35,000 people received care through the Hetauda Community Eye Hospital in 2012. Community Eye Hospitals serve as surgical facilities with at least one full time ophthalmologist on staff and a full team of eye care professionals.

Learn more about Hetauda Community Eye Hospital

Together, HCP and Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology have made a long-term commitment to restoring and reopening the Dolakha Lions Community Eye Center in Dolakha, Nepal. Over the next several years, HCP and TIO will increase its support for training and equipment and bring the center under the Tilganga umbrella by cycling Tilganga residents and doctors through the hospital on a regular basis. Each year Tilganga’s MD Residency Program accepts five new residents who cycle through the nine different community eye centers supported by Tilganga. In 2011, two outreach events treated 877 patients and provided 277 cataract surgeries.

At the small Phaplu Community Eye Center in the Solukumbo region, 2012 brought a 29% increase in the number of patients served (3,647). The construction of a new eye clinic is scheduled to be complete in 2013 with the help of longtime HCP supporter the Nancy Allison Perkins Foundation.


Eye Care in Nepal: Dr. Paul Yang of the John A. Moran Eye Center traveled to Nepal in 2010 as a Freeman Fellow with support from the HCP. He participated in an Outreach Microsurgical Eye Clinic (OMEC) in Hetauda at the Community Hospital that HCP supports. Dr. Yang created a short video documenting the cataract program.

Mobile Eye Camp in Nepal: Dr. Sanduk Ruit, co-director of Himalayan Cataract Project and medical director of the Tilganga Eye Centre in Kathmandu, was featured in a Aljazeera news report in December 2010.

HCP Video by Serac Films: The life of an elder in Nepal is turned around through cataract surgery.

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A blind patient in Dolakha, Nepal.
A blind patient in Dolakha, Nepal.

A team of eye care professionals from the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology managed an outreach event at the Dolakha Lions Eye Center in August 2012. Three remote eye clinics were held in which 743 patients were screened and 39 cataract surgeries provided.

“In the Himalaya region, blindness is a death sentence. People long thought that as you grow old, your hair turns white, your eyes turn white and you die."
— HCP Co-Director Dr. Geoff Tabin