Changing a life by curing blindness: a story from the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation

Tila pictured immediately after receiving surgery from the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation which cured her of cataract blindness.

In medical terms, Tila Maya Rai is blind. Suffering from cataracts in both of her eyes, her vision is extremely blurred. It was only a matter of time that her cataracts would mature, making her completely blind.

Thankfully, by the time of writing this story, her cataracts have been removed by the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation, and she is able to see clearly.

Tila lives alone with her husband in a remote mountain village in Nepal.

For Tila Maya Rai, blindness owing to cataracts created immense difficulty in her life. Living in a remote mountain village in Nepal, there were many household chores which needed attending to on a daily basis — the fields, the vegetable garden, poultry, cooking, and cleaning. Living alone with her husband who had a job of his own, and with all their children living far away, much of the household work was burdened upon Tila’s shoulders.

When Tila meets the screening team from Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation she shares her pain. “I cannot do the outdoor work anymore. My husband looks after the fields and the poultry. I do the cooking, and the cleaning”. When asked how she manages to do these chores, Tila says that she works blindly. She has to be extremely cautious, and has to make assumptions based on her blurred vision. Thankfully she hasn’t met with an accident so far.

After assigning her a date for her surgery, the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation screening team departs. Tila Maya has a daughter, Salleri, who will bring her to the temporary eye camp in a few days’ time.

On the assigned date, Tila Maya and her daughter arrive at the microsurgical camp in Solukhumbu. There, she is operated upon by Dr. Sanduk Ruit — a world renowned eye surgeon who has cured over 130,000 people from cataract blindness. It is with him Mr. Tej Kohli has joined hands to achieve their combined vision to eradicate cataract blindness from the developing world. Together, they plan to cure 300,000 cases like Tila Maya’s by 2026. Their efforts in the coming years will span several countries.

Tila is bandaged and helped by a member of the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation team after surgery.

The next day after her surgery, Tila Maya, along with other patients, have their bandages removed. For Tila Maya, the moment of opening her eyes was profound — she is excited to be able to see again. She thanks the doctor, looks into the crowd for her daughter and — along with other patients who have recently had their eyesight restored — dances her heart away.

Tila is supported by Dr Sanduk Ruit as she adjusts to being able to see again.

The next day, the day that she is supposed to be discharged — her husband arrives at the eye camp too. Together, clutching on to the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation eye care package (cotton, eye drops and bandages), she and her husband head back home — to collectively work in their fields, and look after their poultry.

For more pictures of the lives that are being transformed thanks to surgical interventions to cure blindness, please follow the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation on Instagram at : https://www.instagram.com/tejkohliruit/

The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation is working to screen 1,000,000 and to cure 300,000 people of cataract blindness in the world’s poorest communities by 2026.