Harold Ridley made the first IOL operation, 74 years ago, on 29th November 1949 with an intraocular lens (IOL) made by Rayner.
Sir Harold Ridley had many achievements in eye surgery but it is less well known that he was also concerned with improving treatment for ophthalmic patients in tropical countries. (During World War II he was a medical officer first in West Africa, and later in India and Burma.) In 1967, he set up a registered charity, the Ridley Eye Foundation (REF) which today funds cataract surgery in developing countries.
Action in Nepal
The Foundation keeps a family connection – Harold Ridley’s son Nicholas serves as its Chairman. In 2020, Nicholas and Alistair Wood, REF’s CEO, began an ambitious project to bring cataract surgery to remote villages above 2000 meters in Nepal. Beginning in 2020, they established the Ridley Eye Foundation Nepal (REFN) and registered it as a charitable not-for-profit entity with the Nepalese authorities; and appointed a local Board of Trustees. This important step allowed the first surgeries to be funded in 2022 and 2023. Many more are planned in 2024 and in increasingly remote areas of the country. The David J Apple Center for Vision Research is proud to be associated with this work. In 2024 we will run mini-fellowships for training in sustainable cataract surgery for Nepalese surgeons.
As we remember what Sir Harold Ridley gave us 74 years ago, we should pause and donate money to his Eye Foundation. It needs donations NOW to do its work in Nepal, for buying equipment to continue to help restore the sight of those in need. Please donate to The Ridley Eye Foundation. Even a little of your money can make a difference, for example,
€10 covers more or less the cost of a set of disposable surgical tools for one cataract operation.
€20 covers the pre operative screening and evaluation of a patient’s vision.
€70 will allow one cataract operation that includes medicines and surgery in a base hospital such as Kirtipur or Dhulikhel, as well as immediate post operative follow up.
€100 could cover the cost of a standard cataract procedure at a medical camp in high-altitude villages above 2000 meters.
Donate here to REF