Professor Fred Hollows and Dr Sanduk Ruit - two great mates who revolutionised eye care
Fred met Dr Ruit in 1985 on his first trip to Nepal and they became great mates in no time. It was their shared passion for providing people from all walks of life with quality eye care – no matter what their financial situation – that saw them change the world of ophthalmology.
Dr Ruit came from very humble beginnings. He was born in Olangchung Gola, a remote village in Eastern Nepal. The closest school was a week’s walk away and there was no health care. His sister’s death from tuberculosis, a preventable and treatable disease, when he was just 17, motivated him to become a doctor.
“One of the great joys of my life is having been part of the training of Sanduk Ruit”
- Professor Fred Hollows
In 1987-88, he came to Australia to live and train with Fred. At that time, intraocular lenses were thought to be too expensive to treat cataract blindness in developing countries. It was seen as too risky and difficult to train doctors to do modern surgery in developing countries. Dr Ruit and Fred wanted to change this.
And they did.
The vision Dr Ruit and Fred had of affordable eye care and modern surgery in Nepal came true. And their dream is still very much alive today. The eye centre continues to help restore sight to some of the most disadvantaged people in Nepal. And, it’s still led by the legendary Dr Ruit.
In fact, Dr Ruit has gone on to become an eye health hero, recognised the world over for his incredible contributions in the field of ophthalmology.
Dr Ruit, Fred and Gabi Hollows, together with their friends and colleagues started the Nepal Eye Program Australia (NEPA). NEPA later became part of The Fred Hollows Foundation when it was established in 1992.
When Dr Ruit returned to Nepal, fundraising from NEPA and the Australian Government helped establish the Tilganga Eye Centre in Kathmandu. It was officially opened in 1994, a year after Fred died, and is now known as the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology.
Dubbed “The Barefoot Surgeon” because he likes to be barefoot when he operates, Dr Ruit has personally restored sight to more than 120,000 people. That's more than any other eye surgeon in the world!
And he’s able to do this because of the generosity of our donors.
Thanks to you, we are able to train more eye surgeons like Dr Ruit and in turn restore sight to more people around the world.