A nearly-blind man looks through the remaining lens of his worn-out pair of glasses. His friends carried him to a remote field clinic where he waits to be screened for cataract surgery. “This was the first time I’d seen a clinic go up so fast and accomplish so much in a matter of two days. Spellbound, I watched hundreds of people walking out of the mountains, some without being able to see very well, to line up for surgery,” Steber remembers.
The intense ultraviolet radiation at high altitudes may contribute to the Nepalese population’s high rate of curable blindness due to cataracts. Dr. Sanduk Ruit, a Sherpa, has perfected a less than 10-minute operation that removes cataracts with two simple incisions and no stitches.