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Sanduk Ruit

Sanduk Ruit is a Nepalese ophthalmologist who has performed more than 100,000 sight-saving operations in his distinguished career and is founder and Medical Director of the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. He was trained in Australia but soon became famous for creating his own variant of the small incision cataract surgery and making it accessible to patients in Nepal and other developing economies. Sanduk has won over 40 awards from governments and other institutions including the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Order of Australia, Prince Mahidol Award of Thailand, Arthur Lim Award and the 1.3 million Euro Champalimaud Vision Award, the world’s largest monetary award for work on eyesight

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Nepal Eye Program, Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology
For-profit Social Enterprise
Global Health
Areas of Impact
South Asia

Nepal Eye Program, Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology

Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO) is a non-profit, community based, non-government organization focusing on eradication of blindness. Its Nepal Eye Program has made the modern small incision cataract surgery safer and more cost effective to meet the needs of patients in low resource settings such as the Himalayan, African and other Asian regions. Since patients are widely scattered among mountainous villages often only accessible by foot, TIO organizes eye camps in these villages assisted by portable operating tables.

On an average, a TIO surgeon can often perform more than 10 surgeries using a single operating table. TIO also manufactures its own intraocular lenses in its facility in Nepal and exports them internationally to over 70 countries with particular emphasis on Least Developed Countries. Through innovations in surgical methods and manufacturing of lens, TIO and Sanduk Ruit have managed to reduce the costs of cataract surgery from $500 to $25 yet providing a high-quality of care.

TIO places special emphasis on skills transfer – in training para-medical staff thus reducing the dependence on surgeons as well as ophthalmology teams from countries that lack access to quality training. TIO regularly hosts exposure visits and has trained over 500 medical staff from over 50 countries. It’s operations are financially sustainable with a model where private care subsidizes charity care. TIO's high-quality, high-volume and low cost blindness model has been successfully replicated in more than 15 countries in over four continents. It is directly involved in setting up similar hospitals in Ghana and Ethiopia and is also currently extending the skills transfer activities to Myanmar and Indonesia.


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