The world has around 40m blind people, around 90% of them in the developing world. Much of this blindness treatable. “Second Suns”, a new book by David Oliver Relin, tells the story of two ophthalmologists who are working to rid the world of preventable blindness. In 1995 Dr Geoff Tabin and Dr Sanduk Ruit founded the Himalayan Cataract Project, which began as a small outpatient clinic in Kathmandu. It has since spread throughout the Himalayas and across Sub-Saharan Africa, providing education and training for local eye-care professionals, and has overseen around 500,000 low-cost, high-quality cataract surgeries.
These two doctors seem an odd pairing at first—Dr Ruit grew up in a Nepali village where the closest doctor was a six-mile hike away; Dr Tabin is an American from Colorado with a love of mountaineering. Relin spent two years shadowing the pair’s work, chronicling their productive partnership and easy friendship.
Yet the book’s publication has not been painless. The author committed suicide in late 2012, following allegations of inaccuracies in his previous book, “Three Cups of Tea”, co-written with Greg Mortenson. Both Dr Tabin and Dr Ruit were saddened by Relin’s untimely death, and remember him as a caring, honest man and serious journalist.
Dr Tabin and Dr Ruit spoke to The Economist about the challenges of their health-care project, and their vision for its future.
For the full story, please go to Economist.com