His patients stagger and grope their way to him along mountain trails from remote villages, hoping to go under his scalpel and see loved ones again. A day after he operates to remove cataracts, he pulls off the bandages—and, lo! They can see clearly. At first tentatively, then jubilantly, they gaze about. A few hours later, they walk home, radiating an ineffable bliss.
Dr. Sanduk Ruit, a Nepali ophthalmologist, may be the world champion in the war on blindness. Some 39 million people worldwide are blind—about half because of cataracts—and another 246 million have impaired vision, according to the World Health Organization.