The idea for the construction of Vision Varanasi hospital began after Ivor Wolfe, a retired British optometrist, began traveling to India with the goal of helping people who have no access to eye care. He contacted Harihar Ram Baba Ji at the Sonoma Ashram, to whom he was connected through Aghoreshwar Bhagwan Ram, and Baba Ji agreed that the Aghor Foundation would help in the endeavor to spread quality eye care.
The project began in the winter of 2007. Ivor Wolfe and fellow optometrist Jai Krishna set up their ambulatory office in a nearby optometry practice and began seeing patients with but a briefcase of equipments: a box of lenses, an ophtalmoscope, a retinoscope, and a small visual testing chart.
After a couple weeks, as more and more patients reached out for care, Dr. Ivor and Dr. Jai decided that due to Varanasi’s ‘impassible and impossible’ traffic, it would be more prudent to tend to patients straight from Dr. Ivor’s room at the Ashram: a single room measuring 120 square feet in which to both sleep and work! After three months, over 1000 patients had been cared for.
Dr. Ivor continued returning to the Ashram in Varanasi for several years and each year the eye camps grew. Soon, the idea of constructing a permanent clinic emerged. The construction broke ground in 2013, took three years to build, and is now known as the Vision Varanasi Hospital.
Vision Varanasi expanded took the Aghor Foundation’s ability to care for patients by providing the highest standard of cataract and glaucoma surgeries to those who would otherwise not have access to such care. Patients are charged only with what they are financially capable of contributing, and since most families we tend to are of very poor economic background, most surgeries are absolutely free to the patients.
Since our inauguration on March 4th, 2016, over 350 successful cataract surgeries have been performed.