More than half of the world’s preventable blindness is caused by cataract disease, a clouding of the clear lens of the eye. In developing countries like Nepal, it is not only a personal tragedy, but can devestate the economy of entire communities. Fortunately, it is also easy to cure. Cataract surgery is one of the most effective medical interventions on earth, but until recently was considered too expensive to provide to the rural poor.
Most of the world’s blind people live in remote, impoverished areas. The majority of doctors able to cure them work in cities. Dr. Sanduk Ruit from Nepal, and his American partner, Dr. Geoff Tabin, have made perfecting a portable low cost surgical procedure to restore sight their life‘s work. They trek to Nepal’s remote Northeast, carrying an entire hospital on porters‘ backs. Their mission is to bring the needlessly blind out of the darkness.
During a four-days trek to reach patients in the remote village of siwa, who gathered to receive surgical treatment, we learn about Dr. Ruit’s initiative and about the vasteness of cataract blindness in remote regions. As there aren’t enough doctors capable to offer good quality surgery other than in cities, the people who do not have the opportinity of seeking medical attention remain back in their homes, and gradually become blind. Their blindness affects the whole economy of the family and drags them into poverty. Since there are 60.000 people additionally becoming blind every year and there aren’t enough doctors able to cure them with the appropriate resources, cataract blindness increases every year.
Out of the darkness gives an insight about Dr. Ruit’s method and follows his work up to his home town village, where he return after 30 years of absence.
The journey to the village of Siwa is also a journey in Dr. Ruit’s personal life. We learn about his motivations and what made him one of the most accredited surgeons worldwide.
Dr. Ruits wants to give to his own people the service he had offered to so many other people around the world. With only 25 USD per eye-surgery and a 5 minutes intervention, his surgical method is able to transform people’s life.
The clouded lens of the cataract-affected eye is replaced by an intra-ocular implant produced in Nepal and allows a complete restoration of the eyesight. Because Dr.Ruit’s operation theatre is transportable by foot, it can be installed everywhere, also in the most unreachable places on Earth.
Out of the darkness also accompanies two patients, young Sangeeta, affected by congenital cararact since birth and a elderly lady, Sukmati who’s eyes have been blind for more than seven years, and follows their overnight transformation. –Stefano Levi