Dr. Sanduk Ruit, MD
Dr. Sanduk Ruit, a renowned Nepalese ophthalmologist, has restored eyesight to thousands of people who were living blind for years. Dr. Ruit is the founder and CEO of Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. He is also a co-founder of Himalayan Cataract Project. With his vision to provide high quality eye health services to the patients regardless of financial, social and geographical barriers, Dr. Ruit introduced low cost but high quality cataract surgery technique in Nepal which has been adopted in many countries and started manufacturing high quality intraocular lens (IOL) at low cost, exporting to more than 75 countries.
The major cause of blindness in the world is cataract. Cataract is treatable and the blindness from cataract could be avoided. The majority of people with cataract reside in developing countries. People have barriers in accessing eye health services in rural areas. Specialized eye care services are mostly available in the cities and people can not make it up to the cities because of their financial or geographical barriers. No matter what barriers they have, Dr. Ruit reaches out to them, sets up the operating theater and performs eye surgeries to restore their eyesight.
Dr. Ruit is the hope of the poor who are living with cataract blindness but could not access to the eye health services due to financial or geographical barriers.
Dr. Ruit believes that eyesight is a basic human right. His mission to eradicate blindness is not only limited to Nepalese population but also to those around the world. He travels to Tibet, India, Ethiopia, Myanmar, North Korea and other countries beyond the political landmarks to provide humanitarian eye care.
Blindness has severe socio-economic consequences in developing countries. When a working individual becomes blind, not only this pushes their family further into poverty but also those taking care of the blind family member have to lose their education and career. Children are also made to leave their schools to take care of them. In some cultures, blind people are perceived as the ‘curse’ of their actions in the past life. They are rejected by family and society and not considered as a valued member.
Dr. Ruit’s work has saved thousands of families from being pushed further into poverty, helped restore psychological and social well being of blind people through cataract surgery, helped household members of the blind become free from care taking responsibilities and helped loved ones to see each other after being blind for many years.
For most in developing countries, treating blindness is not a priority because of its high cost. People have other immediate necessities such as food, shelter and emergency treatment. Governments also do not provide subsidized or free services. Dr. Ruit has made it possible for thousands of people to regain their sight. Ruit’s cataract technique is least expensive but has the same quality as of the western world.
Dr. Ruit is a social innovator. Dr. Ruit’s invention, Ruitectomy, a simple and low cost but high quality surgical technique, has revolutionized eye care in the developing world. The technique is being used in many countries to restore eye sight and transform lives.
February 18, 2020