The Tibetan population endures harsh weather, high altitude, strong ultraviolet rays and a sporadic food supply. These conditions result in a high prevalence of eye disease, including cataracts. The Tibet Autonomous Region alone has over 30,000 people who are blind due to cataracts.
More so, because of the dispersed nature of the population, the inaccessible terrain, lack of transportation and extreme poverty, it can be incredibly challenging to deliver adequate eye care in the region.
Since Seva began working in the area in 1995, over 56,000 Tibetans of all ages have had their sight restored, transforming their lives, families and communities.
Seva supports over 70% of all eye care provided in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Szechuan, Gansu and Yunnan Provinces. Almost all of the eye care is planned, conducted, and managed by Tibetans who are trained by Tibetan eye care experts.
Seva’s Tibetan team works with local government hospitals and the Public Health Bureau to establish clinical services and to train local doctors throughout the region. To date, Seva has trained 1,181 Tibetan eye care personnel, from rural health workers to nurses to ophthalmologists.
Seva Tibet also assists eye care programs with the planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of 13 facilities that serve about 5 million people. For new programs, Seva Tibet provides training, equipment and supplies to increase cataract surgical volume, improve optical shops, and conduct school and community outreach. In larger and more mature programs in Lhasa and Darstedo, Seva Tibet strengthens pediatric services and promotes sub-specialty care for adults, as well as helping them move toward financial self-sustainability through service fees.