L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) has become the first Institute in the world to perform 20,000 corneal transplants across its network. The record was achieved in the 25th year of establishment of LVPEI’s Ramayamma International Eye Bank, the largest eye bank in Asia.
The eye bank was established at LVPEI in 1989 with financial support from the family of Gunnam Ramayamma and technical support from the International Federation of Eye Banks of Baltimore, USA. Over the years, the eye bank played a key role in bridging the gap between the need and availability of quality donor corneas, and to create a Centre of Excellence in eye banking. Other major supporters included Eyesight International of Canada, SightLife and Orbis International.
“Today L V Prasad Eye Institute created history in the field of corneal transplantation. The added significance of this feat is that it has been achieved in a country where organ donation and transplantation have long been considered as insurmountable challenges. This achievement should help raise the confidence that we can achieve similar success in all other areas of organ transplantation and that Indians can be convinced to donate organs,” said Dr Gullapalli N Rao – Founder and Chair, L V Prasad Eye Institute. “The dedicated team at LVPEI has contributed to the evolution of modern eye banking and specialized cornea care in India. We are very proud of this achievement and aim to create more milestones in the coming years towards our mission of alleviating avoidable blindness in India and the world,” Dr Rao added.
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.