Eye surgery gives women new hope in life

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Chyomaya Chepang lost her sight two years ago. For the 55-year-old, it was the end of the world. Over the next few months, she tried to adjust to her new way of life, but it proved difficult.

Five months ago, Chepang attempted suicide.

“I wanted to die because my life had no meaning after I became completely blind,” she said.

But on Wednesday, she found new life, she said.

Dr Sanduk Ruitthe famous surgeon who launched a revolutionary and inexpensive method of cataract surgery, removed his blindfolds to regain his full vision.

“I can now see clearly. Both my eyes are working perfectly,” Chepang said. “I thought I would never see again but the doctor changed that. I was worried about my survival but now I can go back to work as a daily wage earner.

Chepang is a permanent resident of Lairang settlement in Raksirang, a remote rural township in Makawanpur district. Until her vision was restored, she needed help even getting in and out of the house.

“My husband passed away last year, leaving our 15-year-old daughter and me behind. It was hard to survive without a vision and without a job,” she said.

Chepang jumped into a local river in June. But passers-by saved her.

According to Ruit, Chepang’s eyes were rendered useless by cataracts. “We performed cataract surgeries on both of his eyes. It’s wonderful to see her loving her life again,” Ruit told the Post.

Ruit performed the operation on Chepang on Tuesday and removed the bandages on Wednesday.

Hetauda Community Eye Hospital held an eye camp in Chepang village last week. Her neighbor Sumita Chepang brought her to the camp. Camp doctors referred her for cataract surgery and brought her to Hetauda Hospital, the district headquarters of Makawanpur.

Hetauda Community Eye Hospital provides free treatment to eye patients who are referred for surgery. The health establishment manages food, accommodation and transport for their return home.

The eye hospital regularly organizes eye camps in remote villages of Makawanpur, Bara, Sindhuli, Rautahat and Parsa districts to find cataract patients. According to Sudhir Bhadra Shrestha, the administrative officer of the hospital, the latest health camps held in various locations identified 300 cataract patients and brought them to Hetauda Hospital for surgery.

Ruit was involved in the surgeries for three days starting Tuesday.

Hetauda Community Eye Hospital was established in 2008 as a branch of Kathmandu-based Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. According to hospital records, he performed surgeries on 44,350 eye patients over the past 14 years.

About 300 patients visit the hospital every day. Patients from Makawanpur, Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Sindhuli and even those from India visit the hospital for its quality healthcare services. A team of 40 health workers, including three ophthalmologists, and other staff run the hospital.

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