He knows what it’s like to have none. He was just 17 years old when his sister died of tuberculosis. He is well aware that losing someone important is terrible, so he decided he wants to serve people.
He is Sanduk Ruit, an eye doctor from Nepal who has restored the sight of 100,000 people with his 5-minute procedure.
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Based on WHO data, 90 percent of the world’s blind are in poverty-stricken areas and 80 percent of them are unnecessarily blind because they can’t afford a treatment.
Considered by many as a “miracle worker,” Ruit has spent most of his life helping the needy by restoring their damaged eyes. He believed that everyone deserves to have an access to a quality health service.
Driven by his passion to help the poor as much as he can, Ruit managed to find a way to treat his patients in just a short amount of time and teaches it to other eye doctors so they could also help cure as many blind people.
The five-minute technique involves making a small cut in the eye of the patient and removing the cataract that’s causing the hazy vision, then put an inexpensive synthetic lens.
In 1994, the incredible doctor teamed up with late Australian ophthalmologist and philanthropist Fred Hollows to establish an eye hospital in Kathmandu called Tilganga.
Aside from providing excellent eye care service to the citizens of Nepal, the hospital also produces their own high-quality lenses for patients suffering from cataracts or myopia and supply 30 countries across the world.
For those who live in remote areas and can’t come to Tilganga Hospital, Ruit and his team regularly travel to far-flung villages and conduct operation on makeshift operating tables in tents, classrooms, and animal barns.
The most rewarding part of their mission is when it’s time to remove the eye patch the next day after the operation. The look of happiness on the faces of their patients are just so touching.
So in commemoration of Tiganga Eye Hospital’s 20th anniversary, Australian photographer Michael Amendiola publicized some of his most compelling photographs since early 1990s, showing pure joy and heartfelt gratitude of people who were given a chance to see the world again by Dr. Ruit.
One of the most touching images in the collection of photographs is an image of an 80-year-old North Korean man who was able to see his son again after 10 years.
“Of course, the man who’s had the operation, is so relieved because he can see again, but the whole family suddenly have a family member who can participate again in everything that happens at home,” he said.
Ruit, who also grew up in a small, remote town in the Himalayas had to walk for a week to get to the nearest school. So he understand how it’s like to be in his patient’s shoes.
Poverty, that’s what pushed him to help and treat people as many as he can.
“I am so grateful that I can make a difference in so many people’s lives,” Ruit, who is fondly known as the “God of Sight”, said. But today, at age 59, he still believes he has so much left to do.