Friday, November 17, 2017

Himalayan “Gift of Sight” Expedition 2017 Returns to Nepal

By Jeff Blumenfeld-Expedition News

 A team of leading ophthalmologists will again travel to a remote region of Nepal to tend to the eye care needs of over 1,500 remote villagers in the Upper Gorkha region, near the epicenter of the massive earthquakes and aftershocks in 2015. 

The team, assembled by Scott Hamilton, president of Dooley Intermed International, New York, will depart in early December on a two-week mission co-sponsored by members of the elite Operation Restore Vision team of Operation International, Southhampton, N.Y.  

Nepal’s Pema Ts’al Sakya Monastic Institute will again provide senior monks to serve as Eye Camp assistants and interpreters. They are trilingual and can speak English, Nepali, and Tibetan. (Photo courtesy

The expedition is focused in the general roadless region of the approach trek to Mt. Manaslu. The team will trek in while transporting equipment using a mule caravan.

The doctors, in cooperation with the Himalaya Eye Hospital, will provide eye examinations, refractions, and perform sight-restoring surgery on those blinded by cataracts. Cataract surgery is one of the most cost-effective and gratifying surgical procedures in medicine since patients are “cured” overnight, often with full restoration of their eyesight. 

In 2013, members of the same team restored vision to dozens of villagers in Nepal’s Lower Mustang region, while providing quality eye care and refractive services to over 700 individuals.The team will also attend the grand opening of a new Eye Hospital in Bhakundebesi Village, in the Kavre District of Nepal.  The construction of the new facility has been sponsored by Dooley Intermed and Operation International. Patients will receive needed eye care, including surgeries, regardless of ability to pay.  

This area has a population of over 600,000 and is currently without a dedicated eye care facility. The new satellite eye hospital facility will soon be performing essential ophthalmic services including comprehensive ophthalmic examinations, refractions and treatment. The facility will include an optical dispensary and pharmacy, enabling comprehensive treatment of many common eye and vision problems. 

 “This new facility will provide vital eye care to a very large marginalized population of men, women and children, year after year, serving an area in great need,” Hamilton says. 
 After the Eye Hospital inauguration ceremony, the “Gift of Sight” doctors and staff will proceed by vehicle for a site inspection of the Dooley Intermed-sponsored Orphanage Eco-Home and “Milk For Kids” program, and new Community Health Clinic in the Saankhu Sharada Valley, before returning to Kathmandu. 

Jeff Blumenfeld, editor of Expedition News, will again return as the expedition team’s in-the-field Director of Communications. Watch this space for a recap early next year. 

See the 9-min. documentary of the 2013 Gift of Sight Expedition here:

 Learn more about the work of Dooley Intermed at:

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