Eye Health Hero: Reeta Gurung

Reeta Gurung; Eye Health Hero 2017, TIO

EHH 2017

Under Dr Reeta Gurung’s leadership, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO) has treated more than 4.8 million patients and performed more than 330,000 surgeries at Hospitals and in outreach programmes. In her time with TIO more than 5 million Intraocular Lens have been produced including PMMA and Foldable, which have been exported to more than 50 countries worldwide.

During her tenure as Deputy Medical Director at the TIO from 1994 to 2013, Dr Reeta oversaw the establishment of Nepal’s first Eye Bank, one of TIO’s many ground-breaking programmes which involved campaigning to change Hindu beliefs and build one of the most successful corneal donation programmes in the world. Dr Reeta operates as both a clinician and manager in her current role as Chief Executive Officer at TIO. She facilitates the remote area’s eye camps and has helped obtain more than 7,000 corneas. More than 60,000 people have filled pledge cards for eye donations.

She has conducted OPD clinics as consultant ophthalmologist and corneal specialist, performing minor and major eye surgeries, conducting eye camps in remote villages and abroad and teaching other ophthalmologists. She volunteers as faculty to the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital-SICS and corneal diseases and since 2003, has been an international mentor to ophthalmologists in three provinces in Cambodia. She is also Chief of TIO’s internal research review committee. Dr Reeta’s work has been published in over 20 scientific papers and has been involved with 155 projects and 139 papers published by TIO’s Research Department.

She was awarded for a short course in Tropical Ophthalmology from the Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London (1990), and successfully completed the University of Wales’ Course on Clinical Refraction (1989) and Course on Lasik (2000). Dr. Reeta completed her studies in General Medicine from 1st Pavlov Medical Inst. Leningrad, USSR (1984), and obtained a MSC (Ophthalmology) from Bristol University (1990). She was awarded a fellowship in Cornea and External Eye Diseases from the Eye Hospital Rotterdam, Holland (2001) and a MSC in Community Ophthalmology from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the UK (2006).

Dr Reeta has worked across diverse and varied settings, including at the Royal Eye Infirmary, Plymouth, UK; Department of Ophthalmology, Cheltenham, General Hospital, UK; Nepal Eye Hospital and Maternity Hospital; and the United Mission Hospital.

Nominating Organization: the Fred Hollows Foundation

“Every morning when I get up I love to go to work. I love to be with my patients who are always my source of inspiration. I always feel that I could make a difference in their lives by just doing what I love to do. Apart from taking care of my patients, my job involves going to different places and countries where I can teach many young people who are always trying to be useful to society. I always feel that the experience I have working in difficult situations and making most out of it should be shared and being in new situations I learn every day. Teaching and learning from others is a sustainable way of creating second in command line of people who will continue the work even in a bigger and better way.”