Our Senior International Programs Specialist, Scott Glass, attended two of our international programs in India and now has a whole new appreciation, admiration, and love for SEE’s vital sight-restoring work.
“One of the most illuminating aspects was realizing how hard our host ophthalmologists work to improve someone’s life by giving them sight. Even if this means traveling far and wide to small villages hours away to find patients in need, bringing those patients back, and operating for 12 hours straight until their hands are sore to make sure all patients are cared for,” Scott said. “It’s more than commitment, it was one of the most impressive human performances I have ever seen. They live for this.”
During Scott’s trip, he visited the Tarabai Desai Eye Hospital, a family-owned charitable hospital working to provide affordable, accessible, and equitable eyecare to all. The hospital is run by our 2020 Humanitarian Award winner Dr. Desai, who operates alongside several family members, including his brilliant daughter Dr. Devanshi.
Volunteer SEE ophthalmologist and board member Dr. Lauren Shatz joined the Tarabai Desai Eye Hospital at an eye camp located in a rural village outside of Jodhpur. Over the course of a few hours, they were able to screen and treat over 150 individuals and identify 26 patients who needed cataract surgery. The hospital then transported these patients back to Jodhpur, where they were operated on until 2am. Patients were then provided with two days of post-op care and transported back to their village.
The next stop on Scott’s trip was to the Baba Lokenath Mission Day Center in Siliguri, India, where he met up with doctors Janak and Preeti Shah, who have been volunteering with SEE for over 26 years.
The Shahs have been coming to Siliguri twice a year for the past 22 years to provide essential eyecare services to underserved communities in this area. The Baba Lokenath Mission Day Center is less established than the Tarabai Desai Eye Hospital, as it is essentially a pop-up hospital in a community center that the Shahs work from when they are in Siliguri.
With only two operating tables, limited resources, and some help from Dr. Lauren Schatz, the Shahs performed more than 85 sight-restoring surgeries.
Programs like these are part of our extraordinary efforts to eliminate preventable blindness in underserved communities; we are so proud to be longtime partners with such incredibly committed humanitarian surgeons who have dedicated their lives to helping those in need.