Regaining Sight Is a Family Affair | #2030InSight
For many people, when their sight is lost so is their independence. 81-year-old Singye’s story is of a cataract operation that benefitted not just him, but his family too and proves that sight opens the doors to economic success.
Singye spent his 81 years happy and fulfilled, living in the picturesque country of Bhutan. When his eyesight began to fade, he simply put it down to his old age. But when he was no longer able to go about his daily tasks as he used to, it fell on his family to help him out.
Singye lives with his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter who spent their free time assisting him as much as they could. His granddaughter sold fresh vegetables in a local market but as his blindness gradually worsened, she cared for him more and as a result, had less time to earn living .
When a screening team funded by The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation came to their village, they realised it was not Singye’s age that caused his blindness but it was that he was suffering from cataracts.
Statistics show that he is not alone in this. As many as 1% of the country’s population reportedly suffers from cataract-induced blindness. There is cause for celebration however as the Bhutanese government has successfully reduced this by 0.5% since setting upon solving the country’s blindness in 2009.
The aim of The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation is to eradicate all of the remaining members of the population who suffer from cataracts over the next five years. Since starting this mission in March 2021, the foundation has cured over 17,000 people and has helped lift individuals and families like Singye’s out of poverty.
Singye’s surgery was performed by Dr Ruit during an Outreach Microsurgical Eye Camp in August, in collaboration between the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation & Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty Gyalyum Kesang Choeden Wangchuck.
Since having surgery, Singye can support himself and is said to be the happiest he’s been since his blindness set in. It’s not just Singye that this operation has benefitted but also his family. He is now more self-reliant, his family have more time to earn a living and his granddaughter is back selling vegetables in the local market.
In July 2022, the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation cured 246 people.