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Nepal's 'magic' eye surgeon brings light back to poor

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

A patient lies on a hospital bed upon receiving anesthesia during cataract surgery at the Tilganga Eye Center in Kathmandu, Nepal on April 25, 2012. About 150,000 of Nepal's 26.6 million people are estimated to be blind in both eyes, most of them with cataracts.

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

A man smiles as he receives a routine eye check-up after his cataracts were removed.

 

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

A simple eye operation pioneered by Doctor Sanduk Ruit, pictured, has benefited tens of thousands.

Reuters reports — Dressed in his hospital scrubs, Sanduk Ruit looks into the eyes of a patient through a microscope hanging over an operating table.

He makes two tiny holes in one eye, takes out a jelly-like mass of natural lens and replaces it with an artificial one that fits snugly into the patient's eye, all in about five minutes, deftly moving his fingers clad in thin white gloves.

The patient is then moved away swiftly, without any stitches, and Ruit repeats the process to remove cataracts - a leading cause of blindness in Nepal - from the eyes of another person.

"We are trying to set up a model of how you can conduct a very high quality prevention of blindness program at low cost and make it sustainable," said Ruit, who pioneered the simple operation. "If you can do it in Nepal it can be done anywhere in the world."

"Like a magician, he has given back my sight," said Krishna Kant Paudel, 81. It was the first time in four years that he could see. Read the full story.

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

Ethiopian doctor Fikru Melka checks a patient's eyes at the Tilganga Eye Centre on April 26, 2012.

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

A low-cost acrylic lens, also called an intraocular lens, is pictured on the monitor at the Tilganga Eye Centre's laboratory in Kathmandu on April 26, 2012. The lenses are produced at the center's laboratory by workers wearing bio-safe masks, helping bring the cost down to $4 per lens from more than $100 a piece.

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

Patients wait to receive anesthesia before undergoing cataract surgery.

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

Low-cost acrylic lenses are produced at the Tilganga Eye Center's laboratory. The center produces about 350,000 lenses annually and sells them to other nations.