Ivor Wolfe sets his sights on healing eye patients in India

Semi-retired optometrist Ivor Wolfe has a vision. The Glasgow-born eye specialist is planning to build a hospital in Varanasi, India, to continue treating the locals he has been helping for the past five years.

Mr Wolfe, 59, retired from his practice a few years ago and set up Vision Varanasi, to help vulnerable people in the area with their eye problems. For the past few years, he has been going to India for several months at a time to offer free eye tests, glasses and medication for minor infections to people from both the city of Varanasi and its surrounding remote villages.

Recently returning from his latest trip, he tells People: "Things are definitely expanding. I treated over 3,000 people this time - some who had traveled over 100km to see me. There is no way I would turn anyone away. I am currently working out of a hut and I can continue to do this year in year out but I really want to move things forward."

The plan is to build a permanent hospital in Varanasi where he can carry out cataract operations, something he is unable to do at present.

Mr Wolfe, who lives in Wimbledon, says he is treating an increasing number of Muslims and Hindu patients, particularly women and those with cataracts as a result of poor diets and exposure to UV light. "I'm getting on a bit now and need to get working on the hospital as soon as possible really. It's much needed and really could change someone's life."

Mr Wolfe is working together with a couple of Italian surgeons. He estimates the total cost of buying the land and developing the site would be around £50,000. He hopes to bring other surgeons on board and is planning to give a series of educational talks on his initiative to organisations across the UK.

www.visionvaranasi.org

    Last updated: 11:54am, May 5 2011