“If you are blind it’s the same as dying” says one Nepalese woman who was blind. While this is only her perception of it, it illustrates just how difficult or challenging that reality can be -especially in poorer countries where fending for yourself is a much greater task than in the western world or in more developed countries.
What if a man could not only bring your eye sight back but do it very quickly and for incredibly cheap? That’s what Dr. Sandut Ruik does for his patients and he has to date restored eyesight to more than 100,000 people. This could be more than any doctor in history and he still has many patients coming to him. His patients come with the desire to see again, to hopefully set their eyes on their loved ones and see the world around them in a way so many of us may take for granted.
Being blind in a poor country is incredibly difficult and many feel there is no hope for themselves to ever see again. But Ruik’s “Nepal method” is changing that and he believes that if it can be done in Nepal, it can be done anywhere in the world. Thankfully, his method is now being taught in medical schools around the United States.
Thuli Maya Thing was blind from cataracts when Dr. Sanduk Ruit examined her. After he performed surgery, she had 20/20 vision. Source: Nicholas Kristof/The New York Times
In the United States and other western countries, cataract surgery is typically performed with complex machines. Unfortunately these machines are too expensive for poor countries to purchase and operate. That inspired Dr. Ruit to figure out a way to do it so others could benefit from those same surgeries anywhere in the world. As a trailblazer, he built upon the work of others (including the Aravind Eye Care System in India, a superb institution that performed 280,000 cataract surgeries last year) to invent and refine small-incision microsurgery to remove cataracts without sutures.
And he was successful.
Western Medical Industry First Mocked Him
At first he was mocked for his innovations. Not in Nepal, but here in the west. In the west we often think we are the best at doing things. This is perhaps one of our greatest downfalls as we fail to recognize the love, devotion and brilliance that comes out of so many countries worldwide. Like many things, western medicine and those involved in it often have an initial reaction to call “quackery, fraud or scam” to many new innovations or what are deemed as “miracle cures” before truly understanding them. This may be due to the simple fact that the culture around western medicine is often that they are in the know the most, and that simple or even sometimes natural treatments, simply don’t work.
I’m hard on Western medicine because over my years of research and activism I continually see the reality of it: profit, greed, arrogance and power are a huge part of the western medical business and I’m not the only who sees this fact. There’s plenty discussed by many in the industry.
Why is it that we have a culture where we are more inclined to denounce and rip on something before we think about getting excited about it and trying to figure out if it’s legit or not? Maybe it’s safer to doubt. Cooler to doubt, more intelligent to doubt… at least according to some in western culture. But I believe this is changing as we step out of an era of close-minded science and into one of open and almost boundary-less science.
Dr. Ruit eventually published a study in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, a randomized trial finding that Dr. Ruit’s technique had exactly the same outcome (98 percent success at a six-month follow-up) as the Western machines. The kicker was that Dr Ruit’s method was not only faster but also cheaper. This began to turn the heads of skeptics and his method got the respect it deserved.
Blindness in developing countries is common but also very easy to prevent and overcome. Vitamin A deficiency is a huge cause of preventable blindness is poorer countries. An estimated 250,000 or more cases of child blindness take place each year with half of those children dying within a year of going blind.
Vitamin A In GMO Rice?
Have you heard of Golden Rice? It’s a type of genetically modified rice that was designed to contain Vitamin A in order to help curb preventable blindness in developing countries. While the idea sounds nice, we’re looking at a radical solution to an incredibly easy to solve problem. With proper education and action, WHO recommends that people in countries struggling with VAD (Vitamin A Deficiency) should focus on cheap vitamin supplements and the promotion of local gardens to produce a variety of fruits and vegetables that can easily solve not only vitamin A deficiency, but other deficiencies as well. WHO states, “for vulnerable rural families, for instance in Africa and South-East Asia, growing fruits and vegetables in home gardens complements dietary diversification and fortification and contributes to better lifelong health.”
But then comes Monsanto, Syngenta, and Bayer, who all have a different agenda, to genetically modify rice, which we have no idea if it’s safe, so they can in essence patent nature and profit off the challenges of others, even when a safe practical solution is already available. As stated by GlobalResearch “Promoted by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), (but funded by Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and others) along with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) which is also partnered with big-business agriculture, genetically modified “Golden Rice” containing beta-carotene is promoted as the solution to saving millions of children.”
So with solutions in hand to prevent VAD without the need for potentially unsafe actions like genetically modified rice, again we must look as a society at prevention from simple, natural and effective points of view before we try to re-invent the wheel and potentially create even more problems. Until then, Dr. Ruit will keep his great work going in helping people to see the wonderful world we live in.