When you get involved in doing good work, you find yourself with good people. And I met some exceptional people like Sanduk Ruit. I met Fred when he came as a short term WHO consultant to look at trachoma in Nepal back in ’85. We worked in villages and there were some aspects of ophthalmology simply
because of my seniority that I could show him and there were some surgical techniques that he hadn’t experienced. We worked together. Not everybody could do like that, could they, Daryl. I was working with Fred basically keeping in mind what the population was like at home and what we were trying to do when I came back. That was my main aim. This may sound very technical and very ordinary… but we wanted a way of quickly sewing up a cataract wound effectively and with the knots that were buried. Ruit did that here and he called it The Prince of Wales technique. But in fact he modified it. There’s been a cross fertilisation of surgical ideas there. Presentations were being made on thousands of cases of cataracts seeing with very thick glasses. And we presented with 150 cases of cataract done in the remote areas with intraocular lenses. We were totally outlawed. Putting in lenses for cataract surgery was not something that you could do for people of the developing world. They thought it was too expensive, it was too complicated, as if our eyes are different. Fred and I had enough, and Fred said, “there will be a time when you’ll start putting intraocular lenses instead of the glasses there.” That intraocular lens enables you to do the things that you did before the cataract developed. You don’t have it, you just have your cataract out, you get a thick set of glasses and you never really know where your feet are or where things are, and you’re disorientated which is bad news in the Third World. For that time in 1989, it was a big statement. Revolutionary statement. I feel demeaned when I realise what I have in the West and how little the people have that we’re seeing here. One time, I raised a phone and called him because I was so happy. We did two lots of surgeries with intraocular lenses with nearly 300 people. I picked up the phone and I talked to Fred, “Shit! You have started to do this in field!” “I must come.” Within 15 days, he came up here and he saw all the procedures and the post-up results. You know, that night, we drank the whole night. Pretty good stuff, isn’t it? If we’re going to answer all the critiques as we go, we’ll never do anything. So we just ripped into it and did it. Good surgeon. King diagnostician. Interested in the work. You know, fully absorbing the craft of ophthalmology. If he’s up there and watching… I think he should be very pleased. Because we have been able to achieve beyond what he thought we could achieve.