Book release: The Barefoot Surgeon

IMAGE: Professor Fred Hollows examines a patient while Dr Sanduk Ruit watches on

Fred and Ruit

The meeting of Fred Hollows and Sanduk Ruit could be considered historic — two people who took modern cataract surgery to people in developing countries enabling millions of people around the world to see.

The two men met in the '80s, when working together on the Nepal Blindness Survey. Over many nights talking about the world, both men quickly realised they shared the same vision — to bring affordable eye care and modern cataract surgery to people living in Nepal and other developing countries.

"If I've done one thing in life I'm proud of, it's launching Ruit into the world."

In the late 1980's, Dr Ruit came to Australia to live and train with Fred. At that time, intraocular lenses were considered too expensive, risky and difficult for treating cataract blindness in developing countries.

In those days, cataract surgery in developing countries involved removal of lenses and giving patients thick, bulky glasses to wear for life.

But Dr Ruit and Fred wanted to change this.

And they did.

"I think it should be written down in history as a perfect partnership… we have together made lots of landmark changes in the history of ophthalmology and prevention of blindness."

Dr Ruit went on to spend his life helping thousands of the world's poorest and most isolated — saving the sight of more than 120,000 people.

Ali Gripper spoke with Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking about her recently released book, The Barefoot Surgeon, which followed Dr Ruit's career.


'The Barefoot Surgeon' — out now.
'The Barefoot Surgeon' — out now.
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