June is a month dedicated to shedding light on an often-overlooked condition that affects millions of people worldwide: cataracts. These cloudy formations on the lens of the eye can significantly impair vision and quality of life. As we observe Cataracts Awareness Month, let's dive into understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for cataracts, and explore the transformative work being done by The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation in tackling this issue in developing countries.
Understanding Cataracts: Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, hindering the transmission of light to the retina. This leads to blurry or distorted vision. They can develop gradually in one or both eyes and are commonly associated with ageing.
Causes of Cataracts: While ageing is the primary cause of cataracts, other factors can contribute to their development. Genetics, eye injuries, lifestyle choices such as excessive UV exposure, smoking, alcohol consumption, and certain medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension can increase the risk.
Recognising Symptoms: Cataracts may not exhibit noticeable symptoms in the early stages, but as they progress, individuals may experience blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, sensitivity to light and glare, faded colours, and double vision in one eye. Early detection is crucial for timely intervention.
The Impact of Cataract Blindness in Developing Countries: Cataract blindness has a profound impact on individuals in developing countries, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and isolation. The inability to see clearly prevents them from working, providing for their families, and contributing to their communities. However, hope emerges through the efforts of The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation.
The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation: Bringing Light to the Darkness: Recognizing the urgent need for accessible eye care in low-income countries, The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation was established by Tej Kohli and Dr Sanduk Ruit. This remarkable NGO is on a mission to eliminate cataract blindness by providing free cataract surgeries in remote regions.
The Foundation's Approach: The foundation's approach is both simple and profound. They bring highly skilled eye care professionals and state-of-the-art mobile surgical units to areas where individuals are most in need. These surgical camps not only restore sight but also offer hope, dignity, and new opportunities to those suffering from cataracts.
Dr Sanduk Ruit: A Visionary Changing Lives: Dr Sanduk Ruit, a visionary ophthalmologist and co-founder of the foundation, has played a pivotal role in developing a safe and cost-effective surgical technique for cataract removal. His expertise has transformed countless lives and inspired a new generation of eye care professionals, ensuring that quality care reaches even resource-constrained settings.
Creating Lasting Impact: To ensure sustainable change, the foundation collaborates with local healthcare organizations and governments, empowering them with knowledge and resources. This collaborative effort enables communities to continue the fight against needless blindness and work towards a future where no one is left in the darkness of cataract blindness.
As we raise awareness during Cataracts Awareness Month, it's crucial to recognise the impact of this condition on individuals worldwide. The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation's tireless efforts in providing free cataract surgeries in developing countries bring hope, transformation, and renewed opportunities to those affected by cataract blindness. Together, we can strive for a world where everyone has access to quality eye care and where cataracts no longer cast a shadow on the lives of millions.
Tej Kohli is a philanthropist, technologist and investor.
Find out more about Tej Kohli: Tej Kohli the technologist investing in human triumph and Tej Kohli the London tycoon with a generous streak.