LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) has created history in the field of corneal transplantation by becoming the first institute in the world to achieve 20,000 corneal transplants across its network. Significantly, the world record was achieved in the 25th year of establishment of LVPEI’s Ramayamma International Eye Bank, the largest eye bank in Asia. The Cornea Centre of Excellence at LVPEI is the largest in the world.
Felicitating the Cornea and Eye Bank teams, Governor ESL Narasimhan lauded their efforts and commended LVPEI’s commitment to quality eye care. He wanted all hospitals to emulate LVPEI’s model of affordable and low cost healthcare. “The health ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh should convene an urgent meeting of all corporate hospitals to arrive at a solution of how we can carry forward this LVPEI model of affordable healthcare for the common man.
Corneal Implant team of LV Prasad Eye Institute, (from left) Dr R Muralidhar, Dr Mukesh Taneja, Dr C Jagadesh Reddy, Dr Sayan Basu, Dr Sunita Chaurasia, Dr Bhupesh Bagga, Dr Virender Sangwan & Dr Gullapalli N Rao.
We have a concentration of hospitals in urban pockets and lack of proper medical facilities for rural populace. These hospitals, instead of opening more branches in the cities, should move to rural areas. Healthcare is the key for developing economy and growth,” Narasimhan said.
“Apprehensions about organ donation have been major hindrances. LVPEI has shown the path through its ‘Hospital Corneal Retrieval Programme’, as to how education can mould people’s opinion towards organ donations and how counselling has been a key element in the success of this programme,” the Governor added.
Governor ESL Narasimhan addressing the gathering
Narasimhan wanted LVPEI to organise this felicitation programme in a grand fashion in every nook and corner of both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by involving the district collectors, to spread the message of organ donation and affordable healthcare and expressed his willingness to attend some such programmes in both the states. “On the lines of minimum pricing for farm produce, a minimum price has to be fixed for surgeries and healthcare services to bring it within the reach of common man,” Narsimhan said.
Dr Gullapalli N Rao, founder and chair, LV Prasad Eye Institute, said, “When I was returning to India from abroad, everyone advised me to focus on cataract surgeries and not to venture into corneal transplants. The myth was that Indians don’t donate eyes and corneal transplants don’t work with Indian eyes. I went ahead not heeding to such advises and overcoming the initial hitches, established the eye bank in 1989.
Today it’s the biggest eye bank in the country and one of the five largest banks in the world. A significant aspect is, 55 per cent of the recipients are non-paying patients. These people would have remained blind otherwise. The best of the eye institution located in US and the world are nowhere near this record figure of 20,000 corneal transplants, which we accomplished on January 6, 2015.
The ‘Hospital Corneal Retrieval Program’ (HCRP) conceived by LVPEI, with counselors placed at NIMS, Osmania and Gandhi hospitals, counseling relatives on eye donation, was the miracle in this success. Today, we are in a position to retrieve 75 per cent to 80 per cent of corneas from these three hospitals, a figure which even betters the USA where the range is between 60 and 65 per cent.”
Corneal disease is a major cause of blindness in India. Of the 10 million blind in India, 1.1 million are blind in both eyes due to corneal disease, injury or infection. Corneal transplantation is the only known cure for corneal blindness, which is made possible by the donation of healthy corneas by individuals upon their death.