NEW YORK, NY (July 2013) - Blindness is a severe public health problem in Nepal, especially in the relatively inaccessible areas. A team of ophthalmologists from New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, sponsored by Dooley Intermed International, Operation Restore Vision and Himalaya Eye Hospital, provided free eye examinations, eyeglasses and cataract surgeries to over 700 villagers in the remote Mustang region of Nepal during the "Gift of Sight" Expedition.
Free eye screening camps were held in Tukuche, Kagbeni and Marpha, followed by a two-day field surgery clinic with skilled surgeons providing cataract operations and related ophthalmic treatment.
The expedition team included three ophthalmic surgeons from New York Eye and Ear Infirmary: Sanjay Kedhar, MD; Christopher Teng, MD, and Travis Jenkins, MD. Additional team members included expedition leader and Dooley Intermed Director, Scott Hamilton; communications director and publisher of Expedition News, Jeff Blumenfeld; and renowned filmmaker, Daniel Byers, whose documentary Visions of Mustang, was a finalist at the 2012 Banff Mountain Film Festival.
The team was joined by 5 members from the Himalaya Eye Hospital (www.heh.org.np) in Pokhara, Nepal, and 16 monks and from the Pema Ts'al Sakya Monastic Institute, who served as â€œadvance teamâ€ assistants and tri-lingual translators.
"There were no surgical complications," said Scott Hamilton. "Every patient had their sight restored and we're very, very happy. I am also very pleased with the professionalism and extraordinary dedication of the entire team."
Dooley Intermed International (www.dooleyintermed.org) is a New York-based not-for-profit dedicated to providing crucial assistance to those who lie beyond the reach of traditional healthcare. It has been aiding the people of Nepal for 50 years. Operation Restore Vision (ORV), is a chapter of International Surgical Mission Support (ISMS) (www.ismission.org/operation-restore-vision), and was established in 2008 by Dr. Ronald C. Gentile, a retina specialist at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. ORV is dedicated to restore vision and prevent blindness in patients in underdeveloped countries and, equally important, to train local medical professionals.
In addition to Dooley Intermed and Operation Restore Vision, the expedition was supported by Sherpa Adventure Gear (www.sherpaadventuregear.com), Keeler Instruments (www.keelerusa.com), the Paul & Irene Bogoni Foundation and DeLorme (www.delorme.com), whose inReach device helped the team stay connected via blog reports.