Bhutan’s Saviour


Dr Bhim Bahadur Rai will  bear the weight of  responsibility on his shoulders when he returns to Bhutan at the end of the year after completing a Fellowship in vitreo-retina at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO).

Dr Bhim Bahadur Rai (Picture courtesy : Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology)

He will become the first vitreo-retina specialist in Bhutan and have the challenge of establishing and running retinal services in his country.

As one of just six ophthalmologists in Bhutan, Dr Bhim explains, “while we have been taking care of the general ophthalmological cases, there are lots of patients requiring the services of specialist ophthalmogists”.

“Currently we are referring such patients ex-country which is taxing the government so much”, Dr Bhim said.

He explained that medical services in Bhutan are still largely in the inception stage.

“Vitreo-retina, especially, is such a sub-speciality that no other ophthalmologists dare to venture unless one has had proper training”.

However, Dr Bhim says he’s up for the challenge.

After completing his medical training in India in MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery), Medical Surgery Ophthalmology, SICS (small incision cataract surgery) and Phaco Techniques, Dr Bhim joined the government service in Bhutan as an ophthalmologist.

Dr Rai examines a patient in Tilganga Hospital

He worked for a while at the JDW National Referral Hospital in the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu, where in 2008, he introduced Phaco Techniques to the country.

In 2009, he transferred to the Eastern Regional Referral Hospital in Mongar.

Dr Bhim said the Government of Bhutan and the Himalayan Cataract Project had been kind enough to sponsor his Fellowship at TIO and a three month Medical Retina program he did at the Moran Eye Centre in Utah, USA.

“I’m especially grateful to my mentors at both Tilganga and the Moran Eye Cente”, Dr Bhim said.

“Whether it be a developed or developing country, diseases like diabetes and hypertension affecting retina, age-related macular degeneration, etc., are a rising trend, which is why I decided to pursue my fellowship in vitreo-retina, in order to serve the needy patients”, he said.

Courtesy : Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology 


  1. I was feeling a lift up when I got a chance to go through the progress of Dr. Bhim.Congrats to u. He should feel lucky to get a chance to serve the fellow citizens.Given a chance a majority of the southern Bhutanese can come out with flying colors and they are ready to serve the nation.
    I wish him all the success in his mission to serve the fellow country men.