Two Eye Surgeons Have Restored Sight In 4 Million Blind People In The Developing World

Two eye surgeons have restored eyesight to more than 150,000 patients in 24 countries. Doctors they’ve trained have restored sight to 4 million more.

Dr. Sanduk Ruit, a Nepalese eye surgeon, met Dr. Geoff Tabin, an American eye surgeon and world-renowned mountain climber, and together they created the Himalayan Cataract Project.

Their mission is to completely eradicate preventable and curable blindness in the developing world.

“I still get such a thrill when people don’t expect or realize they’re gonna have their sight restored,” Dr. Tabin tells CBS News. “And then a transformation when they see, and the sort of moment of hesitation, what are they seeing, and then the smile.”

The surgeons perfected a small-incision cataract surgery, which takes just minutes and costs about $20.

Their focus was originally in the Himalayas, but they have been so successful they renamed their group They’ve operated in two dozen countries, including North Korea and Ethiopia.

And as Dr. Tabin points out, they are doing more than restoring sight.

“You know, once someone goes blind in a developing world, their life expectancy is about one-third that of age and health matched peers,” he says. “And also in the developing world, it takes, often, a person out of the work force, or a child out of school, to care for the blind person. So when we restore sight to a blind person, we’re freeing up their family and restoring their life.”



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