Our Mission in Nepal

Our mission in Nepal is to fund small incision cataract surgery (SICS) to those of modest financial means in remote areas above 2000 meters (6,500ft) by utilising the well-established and high-quality medical infrastructure in Nepal, through partnerships.

The challenge is that these often hard to access areas are beyond the reach of regular primary and secondary medical facilities, which are mostly based in the valley areas or astride the main arterial routes. The Ridley Eye Foundation Nepal aims to provide funding and capacity building to enable the regional community hospitals to extend their cataract surgery to these remote populations where 75% of blindness is caused by cataracts.

Our two main partners are: Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh (NNJS) a national charity, and the University of Kathmandu University Medical School. We are initially working with the NNJS Clinic at Kirtipur (to the west of Kathmandu), and the University’s Community Hospital at Dhulikhel (at the eastern end of the Kathmandu Valley.)
Our long-term aim is to extend our partnerships and support into the whole of the northern provinces along the Himalayan foothills.

Our principle activity is to fund surgical camps in remote areas above 2000m (6,500ft). Working with partner hospitals to utilise their experience and skills to achieve optimal surgical results.


The Ridley Eye Foundation Nepal (REFN) was established in early 2020 to facilitate the funding of cataract surgery in the remotest habitable parts of Nepal. It is registered as a charitable not for profit entity with the Nepalese authorities and has its own Board of Trustees.


Through the Foundation’s extensive network in the UK and Europe we are able to augment our field operations with assisting to build capacity and professional development in the existing ophthalmic sector in Nepal.

This part of our work continues the REF’s well established record of training, research, and clinical education first started by Sir Harold in 1982.


Mr Gokul Thapa – Chairman & Managing Trustee.
Mr Radha Krishna Bhandari – Legal Adviser.
Mrs Shakuntala Dhakal – Teacher & Social Worker.
Mr Dipendra Poudel – Pharmacist.
Mrs Sumitra Poudel – Medical Research Clinician.

Surgical Camps

Our principal activity is to fund surgical camps in the remote areas 2000m (6,500ft) of the Himalayan foothills.

We work with partner hospitals to utilise their experience and skills to achieve optimal surgical results, efficient logistics, and effective post-operative follow up. This strategy also allows a long term and sustainable approach to community engagement and public education.

Due to COVID-19 we are currently focused on Province 3 which embraces the Kathmandu Valley and the areas to the north and to the south. However, our fundamental aim is to fund surgical camps to the remaining highland foothills, and in particular the northern Himalayan communities.

Working closely with NNJS and Dhukilel Hospital will enable us to eventually achieve national coverage. We will work with selected Community Hospitals to utilise their expert knowledge and experience to increase the regularity and scale of these camps.

The challenges include: distances, altitude, weather, and close coordination with local community leaders. Nevertheless, our partners are capable, experienced, and enthusiastic. Our research and planning is done in close co-operation with the medical authorities to avoid duplication of effort and to ensure that our activities align with their long term strategy. We strive to enhance existing delivery and to increase the scale of operations.

We aim to develop paediatric cataract surgery. The incidence of paediatric cataracts appears to be increasing, particularly in the remote areas and further research is required to determine the reason for this. However, paediatric surgery requires specific clinical skills and a greater support infrastructure. The Ridley Eye Foundation Nepal is committed to addressing these challenges over the coming years.

Untreated cataracts have a devastating effect on social cohesion in remote communities, individual financial wellbeing and independence, and quality of life for patient and family.