Veerayatan has an established track record of performing eye surgeries which started during the early years when Veerayatan was establishing a presence in the holy land of Bihar. Acharyashriji during these formative years, in talking to local people about their problems, recognised that the most common diseases in the area were those affecting eyes. Consequently, providing cures for eye ailments became one of her foremost priorities. The first eye camp was organised in 1974 when 250 operations were performed in a makeshift camp at the end of which the Sadhvis gave patients life teachings which continue to form an integral part of the whole experience. The cataract surgeries rapidly became the most prominent activity of Veerayatan in Bihar.
In the 1978 winter eye camp, 1,200 operations were carried out. In those days both eyes had to remain bandaged for 3 days following the operation and patients had to be housed in tents for 3 days. On the third day in this particular year, the weather suddenly changed – sudden great gusts of wind blew up, torrential rain sheeted down, enormous hailstones fell and only a trace of the canvas camp remained. Acharyashriji’s instincts had anticipated the event and fortunately all the patients had been moved to a safe location in time! But the decision was instantly made to construct a permanent eye hospital to avoid the repetition of such a potentially calamitous event. The construction of a huge 52,600 square feet eye hospital was finally completed in 1987 and named Netra Jyoti Seva Mandiram.
The hospital today is a state of the art 175 bed facility, which has earned a nationwide reputation for outstanding patient care, innovative medical care and surgical treatments. Treatments provided at much subsidised rates or free of charge for the local population include:
The work of the eye hospital is thriving, underpinned by a team of long serving and highly dedicated medical staff who work very long hours to deliver optimum healthcare. The work is organised and supervised by one of the Veerayatan sadhvis.
The hospital is a perfect example of Veerayatan’s philosophy of ‘Compassion in Action’. Youth have seen first had the work done at the hospital during volunteering programmes and anyone with a medical background or interest is also welcome to volunteer their services at the hospital.