Jigmi Wangdi

Dr Sanduk Ruit, a globally celebrated ophthalmologist, is shining a light of hope and transformation in the world of eye care.

With over 100,000 successful surgeries for various eye conditions in Asia and Africa, he stands as a beacon of healing and compassion.

In a recent visit to Bhutan, Dr Sanduk carried out an eye camp in Wangdue and Thimphu, extending his life-changing expertise to those in need.

Known as the “god of sight” to many, Dr Sanduk took a moment to reflect on his first-ever visit to Bhutan in the mid-1990s.

It was during this time that Her Majesty Gyalyum Kesang Choeden Wangchuck received funds from a dear friend and envisioned using them to prevent blindness in Bhutan.

Patients wait for examination at the recent surgery camp in Wangdue

Rabjam Rinpoche and Matthieu Ricard, prominent figures in Bhutan, suggested connecting with Dr Sanduk for the initiative. Dr Sanduk, always eager to visit Bhutan, accepted the offer graciously.

Upon his arrival in Bhutan, Her Majesty introduced Dr Sanduk to Dr Kunzang Gyaltshen, Bhutan’s first ophthalmologist. Together, they discussed their vision for preventing blindness and initiated modern cataract surgery in Bhutan.

Dr Sanduk fondly remembered the empowering moment when he met Her Majesty. During their audience, he could feel Her Majesty’s deep passion for the cause. She encouraged him to return, recognising that many Bhutanese people lacked the means to access eye care, and she was determined to help them.

Dr Sanduk has been profoundly moved by the gratitude of Bhutanese patients, which has consistently drawn him back to the country. He sees Bhutan as a place that embodies culture, modesty, and values of life reminiscent of countries like Japan.

One poignant memory from five years ago stands out for Dr Sanduk. During a campaign in Bumthang, he encountered a young lady who had been blind for nearly seven years. At the moment when she regained her sight and saw her child, it was a touching and beautiful experience.

These moments, where individuals regain their vision, are what fuel Dr Sanduk’s dedication. He believes that restored sight opens doors to new ambitions and strengthens connections with family.

Dr Sanduk emphasizes the unwavering support and enthusiasm of Her Majesty Gyalyum Kesang Choeden Wangchuck. She is deeply concerned about the well-being of the patients and eagerly inquires about their progress, making her a constant source of encouragement.

Looking ahead, Dr Sanduk is confident that the field of ophthalmology in Bhutan is in capable hands, praising the leadership of Dr. Dechen Wangmo and her outstanding work.

Dr Sanduk, along with his foundation, the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation (TKRF), has been tirelessly working across various Asian countries, including Bhutan. His commitment to alleviating blindness and transforming lives continues to be a source of inspiration and hope for countless individuals.