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Salt Lake City — “Second Suns,” the new book written by New York Times best selling author David Oliver Relin, set for release June 18, chronicles the ongoing efforts of Geoffrey Tabin, co-director of International Ophthalmology at the University of Utah’s John A. Moran Eye Center, as he and his colleague, Sanduk Ruit traverse the globe helping to cure preventable blindness.
Tabin and Ruit founded the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) and have dedicated their time and efforts to eliminating preventable blindness in the world. Using a revolutionary 10-minute surgery costing about $20, and a system that includes building self-sustaining hospitals in emerging nations and training local doctors who then train other local and international doctors in this surgical process, they are responsible for restoring sight to more than 1 million individuals in some of the world’s most isolated and impoverished nations, including those in the Himalayas and Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are thrilled that this book will bring to people’s attention the amazing work being carried out by Dr. Tabin,” said Randall Olson, CEO of the Moran Eye Center and chair of the department of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Utah. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I know of no person who has done more to help cure preventable blindness in emerging nations than Dr. Geoff Tabin. We are extremely proud to have him as part of the Moran Eye Center team, and know he is changing not only lives, but villages and countries with his efforts.”
The Moran Eye Center spends more than $1 million a year funding international sight-restoring medical missions, including some of those featured in “Second Suns.” Moran specialists also provide professional development and training in Salt Lake City. Doctors from around the world are brought to the Moran Eye Center to observe and train with Moran ophthalmology specialists, where they learn advanced techniques for restoring sight. They in turn go back to their home countries and perform these surgeries and teach local physicians the same sight-restoring skills.
Additionally, several times a year teams of Moran doctors and nurses hold eye surgery camps in especially remote locations of the world, working with local professionals to restore sight to patients in the area. Upcoming field training missions for the Moran Eye Center include trips to Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Guam, Bolivia, Nepal, and South Sudan.
“Ninety percent of cataract blindness occurs in developing countries where such a curable affliction can actually lower the life expectancy by one-third,” said Tabin. “When I first came to work with Dr. Ruit in 1995, there was an estimated backlog of 200,000 people in Nepal alone who were blind. Thanks to the pioneering work of the Moran Eye Center, the Himalayan Cataract Project, and a growing list of partners, I’m proud to say that for the first time in history we are witnessing the number of individuals with blinding eye diseases go down each year wherever our system is in place.”