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HomeminewsLucrative Award to Support Ophthalmic Work

Lucrative Award to Support Ophthalmic Work

Ophthalmologist Dr Sanduk Ruit – a long-time friend of Professor Fred Hollows – has been recognised with the prestigious Isa Award for Services to Humanity, the top civilian award of Bahrain.

The Isa Award was established in 2009 by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the King of Bahrain. It is granted every two years to either individuals or organisations who have been selected through a gruelling process by an expert panel of jurists. Dr Ruit, who was one of 139 nominees from around the world for the 2023 award, will receive US$1 million for his work.

Putting in lenses for cataract surgery was not something you could do for people in the developing world – they (the establishment) thought it was too expensive, too complicated – as if our eyes are different!

The founder and director of the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Nepalese partner), Dr Ruit met Professor Hollows in Nepal in the early 1980s and later studied with him at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.

They became determined to make modern cataract surgery with intraocular lenses (IOLs) accessible in Nepal where the technique had been to remove the diseased lens and simply give patients thick glasses. A statement issued by The Fred Hollows Foundation said Dr Ruit and Professor Hollows were considered “outlaws” after putting the idea into practice in 1989.

“Putting in lenses for cataract surgery was not something you could do for people in the developing world – they (the establishment) thought it was too expensive, too complicated – as if our eyes are different!” Dr Ruit has said.