Dr Sanduk Ruit, a renowned Nepali opthalmologist, who was honoured with the ‘Isa Award for Service to Humanity (fifth edition)’, received the award from the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Tuesday.
The award, which is the highest civilian award of the Kingdom of Bahrain, carries a $1 million (NRs 131 million) cash prize, a gold medal and a certificate of merit.
The Isa Award was presented to Dr Ruit for his continuous efforts and immense contribution to cure preventable blindness.
“It is a pleasure to congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition of his valuable and influential works that have made him the most worthy recipient of this award,” King Hamad said.
Dr Ruit, and his foundation, have reached out to marginalized communities in Nepal and other developing countries with simple and free procedures for cataract surgery to treat preventable blindness.
So far, Dr Ruit has been able to save the eyesight of 120,000 individuals who would have otherwise gone blind.
Affectionately known as the ‘God of Sight’, Dr Sanduk Ruit developed new methods and institutions to provide quality, affordable and sustainable eye care to prevent and cure untreated cataract blindness within the remote and impoverished communities of the developing world.
Dr Ruit established an intraocular lens factory to reduce the cost of the IOLs used during cataract surgery from 150 USD to under 3 USD – making cataract surgery accessible at scale for the first time to people in low-income countries.
He also pioneered a low-cost surgical method for treating cataract blindness that is today replicated in many parts of the developing world.
During the ceremony, he also vowed to complete at least half a million cataract surgeries in the next five years, especially for those who can’t access and afford the surgery.