Right next to the Mayadevi temple in Nepal, where Buddha was born over 2,600 years ago, hundreds of people line up outside a makeshift hospital on a recent hazy day, hoping their eyesight will fade.
A day later, saffron-robed Buddhist monks, old farmers and housewives are able to see the world again because the country’s famous eye surgeon, Dr Sanduk Ruit, was there with his innovative cataract surgery. and inexpensive which has won it numerous awards.
At the reception center transformed into a temporary eye hospital in Lumbini, located 288 kilometers (180 miles) southwest of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, assembly-line surgery has enabled nearly 400 patients to undergo the Ruit’s surgery in just three days.
“The goal, the goal, my passion and my love is to see that there are no unnecessary blind people left in this part of the world,” said Ruit, also known as the “God of Sight” of Nepal. .
“It’s important that people receive fair service, not that the haves get it and the haves don’t. I want to make sure everyone gets it. “
Many people in Nepal, mostly poor, have benefited from the Tilganga de Ruit Institute of Ophthalmology in Kathmandu. He regularly visits isolated villages located in the mountains and lowlands of the Himalayan nation, taking with him a team of experts and equipment bringing the surgery to their villages.
Ruit has already performed around 130,000 cataract surgeries and now aims to expand his work, bringing him to as many countries as possible through a foundation he formed with British philanthropist Tej Kohli which aims to achieve 500,000 surgeries over the next five years. .
Ruit said the idea of the Tej Kohli Ruit Foundation is to make cataract surgeries in Nepal affordable and accessible to everyone.
“We will expand it globally to other parts of the world where it is needed,” he said.
Ruit began his work in 1984 when surgery was performed removing all of the cloudy cataract and giving thick glasses. He found that most people would not wear these glasses and the risk of complications was very high.
So he developed a simple technique where he removes cataracts without stitches through small incisions and replaces them with a low-cost artificial lens.
Ruit’s average surgery costs around $ 100. It is free for those who cannot afford it. Patients rarely have to stay overnight in the hospital.
Nepal has a limited number of hospitals and health workers, and services are beyond the reach of most people.
Cataracts, which form a white film that obscures the natural lens of the eye, commonly occur in older people, but sometimes also affect children or young adults. The condition initially causes blurry or hazy vision because the eye is unable to focus properly.
As the cataract grows and matures, it can eventually block any light. Exposure to intense ultraviolet radiation, especially at high altitudes like in Nepal, is a huge risk factor.
In the Lumbini surgery camps, patients and family all praised the doctor.
Bhola Chai, a 58-year-old office worker, who had to retire due to his fading vision, was delighted to finally be able to see him again. “This surgery has changed my life,” he said.
Others who have had Ruit’s cataract surgery have compared him to a god.
“The doctor is just not sent by God, but it is a god for me who gave me new life,” said Satindra Nath Tripathi, a farmer who benefited from the operation. “My world was completely dark but now I have a new life and a new vision.”