Sanduk Ruit

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Sanduk Ruit
Sanduk Ruit Erudite Conclave Medical College Trivandrum.JPG
Dr. Sanduk Ruit
Born 1955
Taplejung District, Nepal
Residence Kathmandu, Nepal
Nationality Nepali
Alma mater All India Institute of Medical Sciences
Occupation Ophthalmologist, eye surgeon
Spouse(s) Nanda Ruit
Children One son and two daughters

Dr. Sanduk Ruit (Nepali सन्दुक रुइत ) is a Nepali eye surgeon whose small-incision cataract surgery with the use of inexpensive intraocular lenses has enabled hundreds of thousands of poor cataract patients of Nepal and other countries to regain their sight. He was awarded with the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2006 and Thailand's Prince Mahidol Award in 2007.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Ruit was born in 1955 to uneducated parents in the remote Olangchungola Pass in Taplejung District of northeast Nepal, a mountain area of Nepal. The nearest school was eleven days away by foot[2] in his village. However, his father, a small time businessman, placed a priority on providing education to his children, and sent Sanduk to St Robert’s School in Darjeeling for studies and also provided financial support in his early medical career.

In 1969, Ruit received his School Leaving Certificate from Siddhartha Vanasthali School in Kathmandu, Nepal, and later was educated in India beginning in 1981 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and also studied in the Netherlands, Australia and the United States, and was mentored by an Australian Professor, Dr. Fred Hollows.

Major works[edit]

In 1986, Ruit and Hollows developed a strategy to use small-incision cataract surgery (SICS) in the developing world at the community level, through the use of a low-cost intraocular lens (IOL). Dr. Ruit was the first Nepali doctor to use IOLs in cataract surgery.

However, the high cost of IOLs placed them out of reach for many poor cataract patients, and Ruit started looking for alternatives to reduce the cost of IOLs. In 1995 he devised an international standard IOL that could be produced for far less than those manufactured in developed countries. The cost of IOLs that was around US$ 100, has now been reduced to US$ 3.5.


Ruit joined with a few people who shared his vision to start the Tilganga Eye Center[3] on June 7, 1994, but due to opposition by the establishment who considered the technique too risky, they virtually operated underground for six months. His efficient model of eye care is now practiced in many parts of the world, with U.S. military surgeons being scheduled to be trained under Ruit as well.[4] Ruit also credits his wife, an ophthalmic nurse whom he married in 1987, as being a pillar of strength to him in his difficult days while pursuing his dream project of Tilganga.[5]


A National Geographic documentary Inside North Korea on Ruit's work therein was remarkable not only in being able to document his successful surgery in the highly controlled country, but the overt adulation given to the then-Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Kim Jong-il by the patients as a result.[clarification needed]

In 2011, Italian director Stefano Levi released a movie featuring Ruit activity called "Out of the darkness."[6]

Ruit's work in Nepal was featured in episode 5 of the BBC documentary series Human Planet.[7]


On 18 May 2007, Ruit was appointed an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia, "for service to humanity by establishing eye care services in Nepal and surrounding countries, and for his work in teaching and training surgeons, and technical innovation".[8]

June 2006, Dr. Ruit was awarded with the Ramon Magsaysay Award. [9]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Prince Mahidol Award 2007
  2. ^ Citation for Sanduk Ruit August 31, 2006
  3. ^ "Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology"
  4. ^ Ocular Surgery News, Surgeon brings innovative techniques to ophthalmologists worldwide, June 1, 2010
  5. ^ Nepal Republic Media, Bringing Sight To Millions, April 24, 2010
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ It's an Honour
  9. ^ Ramon Magsaysay Award