The Himalayan Cataract Project

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The Himalayan Cataract Project began in 1995 to eradicate unnecessary blindness

Two visionary eye surgeons, Dr. Sanduk Ruit and Dr. Geoffrey Tabin, found their life’s calling in restoring sight – and hope – in the mountainous Himalayas, a vast, remote region with an alarmingly high rate of cataract blindness. Their goal of eradicating as much unnecessary blindness in their lifetimes as possible has since spread far beyond the Himalayas. The organization they founded, the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP), now funds and facilitates education, training, and equipment for local eye-care professionals across Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Together with its partners, the HCP has screened and examined over 5.2 million patients from 16 countries and provided over 445,000 surgeries.

Drs. Ruit and Tabin have proven that hospital-quality — even world-class — standards can be applied in the world’s poorest areas, including those lacking electricity and clean water. Their inventive approach and dogged perseverance have made possible what 20 years ago was considered impossible.

At the core of HCP’s work is an audacious goal to achieve high-quality, low-cost eye care that can be sustained in the developing world for the long-term. Today HCP reaches the most unreachable patients wherever its services are needed through a combination of:

  • teaching ophthalmic care at all levels
  • advancing specialized care through training and skills transfer, country by country, scaled to local needs to ensure that sustainable eye care is in place for the long-term
  • establishing self-sustaining eye care centers
  • performing sutureless cataract operations at a low cost with excellent outcomes, often in remote, rural communities, available to anyone regardless of his or her ability to pay