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There are millions of blind individuals across the world who are unable to see the beautiful world that is in front of them; nevertheless, this group is working to restore their sight with a straightforward procedure that takes only a few minutes.
Since the 1990s, the nonprofit organization known as the Himalayan Cataract Project has been traveling throughout Asia and Africa to perform free cataract surgery on individuals in need.
After witnessing personally how severe blindness can be and how easily it may be treated, the two ophthalmologists who initiated the research said that they were motivated to pursue the endeavor because of the insight that they gained.
Cataracts are treatable through the insertion of very small plastic lenses into the eye of a patient, which refocus the light entering the eye in the correct manner.
It is estimated that around half of all people who are blind in the globe may have their sight restored with a simple cataract surgery; however, there are fewer eye physicians in countries like Ethiopia and Nepal.
This makes it more difficult for these people to receive treatment.
In addition, when the two ophthalmologists first arrived in Nepal three decades ago, the cheapest cataract lens that was available cost over $250; however, once the team started manufacturing the lenses locally, they were able to bring the price tag down to less than $25 per lens.
This was accomplished by reducing the amount of labor involved in producing the lenses.
According to Geoffrey Tabin, co-founder of the Himalayan Cataract Project, “Blindness is one of the neglected problems of global health; however, it is also one of the few large problems that we can win.”
Blindness is a result of cataracts, which are cloudy lenses that prevent light from entering the eye.
“The first time I saw the miracle of cataract surgery on a totally blind patient, I realized that there is nothing else I can think of in the realm of medicine that is as cost-effective that we can do to really change lives instantly,” the doctor said. ”
There is nothing else I can think of in the realm of medicine that we can do to really change lives instantly.”
The initiative is currently being run out of multiple countries, including Ghana, Bhutan, India, Ethiopia, Myanmar, and others.
Their facilities do up to 200 cataract surgeries every single day, and the time it takes to finish one of these procedures ranges from about 4 to 20 minutes on average.
The majority of their patients are able to pass a vision test for their driver’s license the very following day after they have worn gauze bandages over their eyes for a period of twenty-four hours.
Tabin is quoted as saying, “The joy just comes through.” “When the patches fall off, it takes them a few seconds to register what they’re seeing… …and suddenly there’s this incredible smile”
The Himalayan Cataract Project was selected as a semi-finalist for The MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition, which will award a grant of one hundred million dollars to the winner of the competition.
The goal of the competition is to find an innovative approach to resolving one of the most pressing social issues facing the world today.
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