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Founder’s Story

For years, I traveled to India, Thailand, Indonesia and Kenya to lecture and demonstrate technologically-advanced retina and vitreous surgery at various medical institutions.

On one trip to India, as I was walking to the operating room to perform a difficult retinal surgery, I noticed a hallway filled with about 50 patients waiting to receive cataract surgery. After I had spent over four hours operating on my patient and I was walking back down that hallway, all the patients were long gone. A nurse informed me that those patients had all received cataract surgery and were recovering in the patient ward.

I marveled at how many other patients in that particular clinic waiting room had their sight issues resolved by my associates while I was doing a single surgical procedure. It was then that I realized that high-tech surgery was not the answer to the overwhelming blindness that existed around the world.

That day I discovered that blindness in developing countries is primarily caused by cataracts in adults and Vitamin A deficiency (xerophthalmia) in children. Both kinds of medical intervention at that time cost just $10 per patient. I was astounded! The idea that we could give sight to an individual so quickly and so inexpensively excited me. That compelled me to start the Combat Blindness Foundation, now Combat Blindness International.

I believe it is the responsibility of the fortunate to help the less fortunate. Our work is possible because of the generosity of friends, foundations, corporations and volunteers. The need is great, but so is the reward.

Over the years, I have met many people who are living happier and more fulfilling lives because they’ve received the gift of sight. These grandparents, parents and children inspire me to do more, and I hope that they inspire you. Together, we can be a solution in sight!

Suresh Chandra, M.D.
 Founder and Chairman
 • Combat Blindness International

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Old photo of Suresh in India
South African patient

CBI’s History


Combat Blindness International launches the Aadya Initiative in collaboration with Dr. Shroff's Charity Eye Hospital in Delhi, India, and the UW-Whitewater chapter of Enactus, a social entrepreneurship group.


CBI reestablishes its support for cataract surgeries at Lions SightFirst Eye Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.


Combat Blindness International partners with Jayapriya Medical Foundation, the charitable arm of Jayapriya Eye Hospital in Hubli, India


Combat Blindness International launches partnership with Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra, serving Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Eye Hospital in Gaya, India.


Combat Blindness International celebrates its 35th Anniversary.


CBI and partners Cambridge Global Health Partnerships and Botswana Ministry of Health & Wellness completely eliminate the cataract backlog in the country of Botswana.


The Bijayananda Patnaik Eye Center, which CBI helped establish, opens in Keonjhar, Odisha, India to serve 1 million people in the surrounding area.


CBI establishes a partnership with UW Madison and the University of San Paulo, Brazil to bring an ophthalmology resident from San Paulo to train at the UW to help them better serve underprivileged communities.


The Certified Ophthalmic Paramedic Program marks its 250th trainee since inception.


CBI launches the International Pediatric Program in Paraguay and the United States.


CBI begins the Bring Sight To Botswana campaign (Botswana National Eye Care Plan) with Peek Vision and the Ministry of Health of Botswana.


CBI begins construction of the first of two eye centers in Odisha, India in partnership with LVPEI.


CBI begins partnership in the Certified Ophthalmic Personnel program at SCEH in New Delhi, India.


CBI travels to Myanmar on a cataract mission in partnership with the Global Community Service Foundation.


CBI begins partnership with Peek Vision.


CBI begins school screenings in the Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


Provided our 200,000th cataract surgery.


CBI begins partnership with the Melki Hospital in Tripoli, Lebanon.


CBI constructs the Rampur Eye Hospital in Uttar Pradesh, India in partnership with SCEH.


Combat Blindness Foundation changed its name to become Combat Blindness International.


CBF sponsored local eye camps in Gambia, Africa.


CBF expands to new cataract project in Paraguay, South America in partnership with Fundación Visión.


CBF begins collaboration with LVPEI at the Bhubaneshwar campus in Bhubaneshwar, India.


CBF begins to support Free Rural Eye Camps in the Philippines.


CBF begins collaboration with Usha Kiran Eye Hospital, Mysore, India.


CBF expands to Africa in collaboration with the Lions Club Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya; Nkonjeni Hospital, Ulunidi, South Africa; and Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Durban, South Africa.


CBF celebrates first World Sight Day.


CBF is a charter member of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, a global coalition, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).


Provided our 100,000th cataract surgery.


CBF established Gujarat Project in Gujarat, India.


CBF begins support of Tarabai Desai Eye Hospital, Jodhpur, India.


CBF begins collaboration with Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital (SCEH), New Delhi, India.


CBF supports creation of suture factory at Aurolab at Aravind Eye Care Systems, Madurani, India increase sustainability and the availability of affordable medical supplies.


CBF begins collaboration with L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderbad, India (LVPEI).


Dr. Suresh Chandra awarded the Outstanding Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.


Provided our 25,000th cataract surgery.


CBF provides seed funding for the creation of Aurolab at Aravind Eye Hospital to produce quality intraocular lenses, providing them at cost to non-profit organizations in 120 developing countries, making quality surgery available to the poor for the first time.


CBF begins collaboration with Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurani, India.


First two-year Xerophthalmia Project launched in collaboration with Sitapur Eye Hospital, Sitapur, India.


Provided our 1,000th cataract surgery.


CBF sponsored first four eye camps at King George’s Medical College (KGMC), Lucknow India.


Combat Blindness Foundation (CBF) established in Madison, WI.

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