Dr Sanduk Ruit

Dr Sanduk Ruit is a world-renowned eye surgeon from Nepal. After the loss of his sister to Tuberculosis when he was 17, Ruit immediately decided on medicine as his vocation. As he came from a remote Nepalese village he was forced to make long journeys to study, yet he did so to achieve his goal of having a career dedicated to the care of others.

Dr Ruit is known as the ‘God Of Sight’ due to his significant advancements in the field of ophthalmology. Dr Ruit utilises small incision cataract surgeries using intraocular lenses to treat cataracts in some of the most inaccessible and remote places on the planet. Ruit often provides cataract surgeries free of charge as part of his charity ‘ Himalayan Cataract Project’ to treat those who may not have the means or ability to reach medical centres.

In 1986, whilst working in Australia, Ruit and his colleague, Professor Fred Hollows, created the Small Incision Cataract Surgery (SICS) strategy, this procedure used intraocular lenses. After this, Ruit became the first Nepalese doctor to utilise intraocular lenses. Ruit then returned home to Nepal, where he utilised the  procedure to provide good quality eye care for those in remote parts of the country. Dr Ruit often camped and trekked to remote locations with a team to operate suturelessly in order to treat cataracts. However, the procedure was still expensive which made it difficult for use on a wider scale. Therefore, in 1995, Ruit devised an international standard intraocular lens which was just a fraction of the price of the ones produced in the developed world.

The procedure is as follows:

” Dr. Ruit’s innovative small-incision cataract removal technique involves modifying the superior incision to a temporal incision. A sutureless external incision of 6 mm to 7 mm is enlarged to 10 mm internally with a keratome. The nucleus is then removed through the anterior chamber.”

In 1994, Dr Ruit founded the Tilganga Institute Of Ophthalmology, which aims to provide high quality and effective eye care for patients worldwide at an affordable price. The institute is closely linked with the Himalayan Cataract Project and other organisations in order to provide cataract surgeries, often free of charge to people in some of the most dangerous and remote places in the world.

A study published by Dr Ruit and his colleagues in 2007 indicated that his procedure and technique was cheaper, faster, had a smaller recovery time and led to significantly less side effects.

In the past 30 years, Ruit has restored the sight of more than 100,000 people worldwide. In 2006, Ruit treated people in North Korea after gaining special permission from the country to enter. Whilst treating, Ruit was part of a documentary series called ‘Inside – Undercover in North Korea’ alongside Lisa Ling. The documentary was filmed illegally which led to the mission being incredibly dangerous, yet Dr Ruit proceeded with his goal to treat as many people as possible, in total around 1000 North Koreans were aided by Ruit and his team during this period.