March 2nd marked the 30th anniversary of the first Netraprakash (light of the eye) Eye Camp hosted by PRASAD Chikitsa! Over the last 30 years, PRASAD has provided eye screenings to nearly 61,000 people and helped more than 16,000 regain their sight, transforming their lives.
Hundreds of people waiting to receive services at the pioneering eye camp
Eyesight isn’t a luxury. Blindness affects an adult’s ability to work and often keeps children from school if they must care for a blind family member at home. This can devastate a family’s immediate financial stability and damage children’s future earning potential.
But there is a solution. Nearly half of the world’s blind people live in India, and 75% can regain their sight through glasses or cataract surgery, one of the most cost-effective and immediately impactful health interventions available. This is why PRASAD had made restoring sight a cornerstone program.
It started with eye camps. Thanks to the early work of international and Indian volunteer eye surgeons and ophthalmologists in the 1990s, PRASAD Chikitsa sponsored five-week-long eye camps that helped first hundreds, and then thousands of people regain sight in a matter of days, either through free cataract surgery or glasses.
Giant eye camp tents where patients recovering from eye surgery stayed
“I’ve never seen so many people so desperately in need of medical help…blind in both eyes from dense cataracts… It was an incredible experience working under less than optimal conditions doing the best with what we had…. Working in the spirit of love and service is uplifting!”
–International volunteer doctor
Volunteer doctors performing eye surgeries in the eye camp
Since then, PRASAD Chikitsa has established a state-of-the-art eye surgery with a 12-bed inpatient ward and an outpatient clinic, where it provides eye exams and surgery to 400 patients annually. Doctors also visit Tansa Valley’s rural villages and schools, giving eye health awareness talks and screenings. This two-pronged approach is increasing eye health and reducing the toll blindness takes on families. It was one of these visits that changed Gurunath’s life.
Gurunath and Kashibai after receiving eye surgery
Blind in both eyes from cataracts, Gurunath, just 35-years-old with a wife and two sons, was incapacitated and couldn’t take care of his family. Worse, he had to rely on his brother and father, day laborers who earned $2 a day, barely enough to care for their own families, for support.
This devastating situation lasted for five years, until one of our outreach worker’s met Gurunath on a village health visit. Gurunath went to PRASAD Chiktsa’s eye clinic and got cataract surgery.
Now, he sees, has a warehouse job and his family is thriving. Because the surgery was so successful – life-changing – Gurunath recommended it to his mother Kashibai, whose sight is now restored, too.
PRASAD Chikitsa is committed to performing 700 eye surgeries in the coming year. A gift of $60 will help others like Gurunath and Kashibai regain their sight and live full, productive lives. Your support will make the difference!
Dr. M. Cecilia Escarra
The PRASAD Project, Inc.