Himalayan Cataract Project
Medical Eye Center’s Dr. Matt Oliva is a board member and director of African programs at the Himalayan Cataract Project, an international non-profit organization working to cure blindness in the poorest communities of Asia and Africa. Drs. Paul Jorizzo and Paul Imperia have also been associate physicians with the organization since 2008.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness globally and can be treated with modern surgical techniques. The surgery is readily available in wealthy countries and cataracts are typically removed when there is only mild visual impairment. In poorer countries, however, the condition often progresses to total blindness, and treatment for many is unavailable. The World Health Organization estimates that 18 million people are blind from cataracts.
The Himalayan Cataract Project is the subject of a new book called Second Suns, published by Random House. Told in vivid detail by renown author David Oliver Relin, Second Suns chronicles the journeys of two doctors and their amazing quest to restore sight and save lives. Drs. Sanduk Ruit and Geoffrey Tabin—co-founders of the Himalayan Cataract Project—are united in their dedication to bringing high quality cataract surgery to the most destitute and remote populations in the world. “Blindness from cataracts is completely treatable,” says Dr. Tabin. “It’s just a matter of will and money.”
Dr. Ruit adapted a system of high-quality, high-volume and low-cost cataract care to the most inaccessible regions of the Himalaya. Dr. Tabin, an accomplished ophthalmologist and mountaineer from Chicago, was the fourth person to scale the highest peak on all seven continents. This unlikely pairing is training a generation of eye care professionals to increase the capacity of third-world countries to provide eye care for their own citizens.
Second Suns has received wide national acclaim and has been featured in prominent media outlets including:
- The Mail Tribune
- The Oregonian
- Outside Magazine
- The Washington Post
- Cure Blindness.org
- WNYC (New York’s NPR affiliate)
- USA Today
- Sacramento Bee
- The Huffington Post
“I’m very proud to be mentioned in Second Suns” says Dr. Oliva. “I’m hoping the book will raise awareness for our high quality, comprehensive approach to eradicating treatable blindness in the world’s poorest countries.”
Second Suns is available now. Purchase your copy locally at Bloomsbury Books.
The Himalayan Cataract Project was featured on an August 2013 edition of NightLine. While Dr. Geoffrey Tabin is featured in the story, it is an example of the same outreach that Drs. Matt Oliva, Paul Jorizzo, Paul Imperia and other Medical Eye Center colleagues have performed many times in Ethiopia. The response from this ABC piece has been overwhelming. Over 2500 new donors have contributed $200,000+ to the charitable work of the non-profit Himalayan Cataract Project.
Click here to watch the video.
There will be a longer, more in-depth program on the October 8th edition of NightLine that will discuss how American ophthalmologists train local doctors around the world. The program will interview Ethiopian colleagues that have worked closely with Medical Eye Center’s surgeons.
Check back soon.
Dr. Matt Oliva’s interview on KOBI-NBC5
Dr. Oliva was interviewed on July 22, 2013 on KOBI-NBC5. He discussed Second Suns, and his work with the Himalayan Cataract Project. The 22-minute segment starts at the 4:25 mark.
Jefferson Public Radio
Dr. Oliva was also featured on the July 29th edition of the Jefferson Exchange on Jefferson Public Radio.
Curing blindness in Ethiopia
Watch a video about the the Himalayan Cataract Project’s work in Ethiopia.
How you can help
Do you find this story inspiring? When an appeal is made to help others, some of us are called to use our unique skills like Dr. Oliva, who travels to the world’s poorest countries and gives his time restoring people’s eyesight. You can help this mission by contributing to the Himalyan Cataract Project. Donations of any amount are welcome and directly support curing preventable blindness.