Dr Sanduk Ruit

Whilst working as a young doctor, assisting a cataract surgical mission in remote Nepal in 1979, Dr Ruit was stunned by the huge impact of blindness on individuals and communities. He decided to dedicate his life to alleviate this problem. He subsequently developed the CEH model, to deliver realizable and affordable solutions in low-resource settings.

Under the tutelage and support from the late Professor Fred Hollows of Australia, Dr Ruit pursued, and subsequently perfected, a cataract surgical technique known as SICS. SICS is the most appropriate technique to treat mature (hard) cataracts at a high volume, in low-resource settings. Hard cataracts are rarely found in industrialized countries, where cataracts are treated in their early stages, but the condition is the major cause of blindness in developing countries.

Dr Ruit also engineered and set up one of the first manufacturing processes of inexpensive intraocular lenses (IOL), which are implanted into the eye to replace they eye’s natural lens removed during cataracts surgery. These processes reduced the costs of IOLs from over $100 to less than $3. Prior to this development, implantation of IOLs was beyond the means of most poor patients, greatly reducing the effectiveness of surgery. The introduction of low-cost IOLs has enhanced treatments and substantially lowered the cost of surgery.

Dr Ruit is a prolific surgeon and has personally restored the sight of over 100,000 people. No other ophthalmologist has done anywhere close to this. He has also trained hundreds of ophthalmologists from 50 countries, with a specific focus on delivering eye care including SICS.

For his dedication and service to humanity, Dr. Ruit was awarded the Magsaysay Award in 2006, followed by Thailand’s Prince Mahidol Award a year later. He was also appointed an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia in 2007 and received the National Order of Merit (Gold) from the King of Bhutan in 2015.