Dr.V : The champion of Affordable Eye Care

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        Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy , called as Dr.V by his colleagues, a Padma shri awardee is a silent leader in the Eye Care History. This man, who is the founder of “The Arvind Eye Hospital, Madurai” and the aurolab , has done around 100,000 eye operations in his career as an Ophthalmologist. Today the hospital operates from 10 locations across Tamil Nadu. According to Dr.V , there are 12 million blind people in India , out of which  80% are of curable blindness (cataract). The motive behind him bringing up this hospital was to provide free eye surgeries to the poor. He wanted to provide free surgeries to the non-affordable poor people in Indian Villages. He developed a model wherein the hospital was able to do surgeries to two-thirds of the patients for free with the aid obtained from the one-third of the remaining patients, who could afford to pay for their surgeries.

Silent Leader

When Dr.V initially operated through ‘The Arvind Eye Hospital’ , there were questions over Intra Ocular Lens(IOL) to developting countries, as they were very expensive. IOL is an artificial lens that is implanted into the eye of someone to replace a damaged natural lens or someone who has had a cataract removed. Dr.V took on the challenge and founded the aurolab, named after his guru Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, to manufacture IOL indigenously at low cost.  This helped in reducing the cost of the eye surgeries to a greater extent. Today IOL manufacted by aurolabs at @$5 which they claim will get reduced to $2 in the near future, are being exported to around 120 countries across the globe, thus taking the eyecare to an all new level.

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Another interesting thing about him was that during his tenure as Doctor in the Indian Army, he suffered  from rheumatoid arthritis , a condition which causes the inflammation of joints leading to loss of mobility of the organs and tissues affected. His fingers were crippled. Overcoming the pain through his sheer confidence he got back to his work to perform thousands of delicate surgeries with the same hands affected by this disorder.

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The Arvind Eye Hospital also raises awareness on eye donation through its network of volunteers and donors, encourages volunteers in organising eye camps and is committed in bringing up 100 Rural Vision centers by 2015. You can join the hospital’s movement in your smallest way.(http://www.aravind.org/getinvolved/participateInOutreach.aspx)

There is no stopping for a man who wants to change the world once for all for a cause. Dr.V has proved it with his life. The Arvind Eye Hospital still touches the lives of millions of people around the globe helping them see the world once again. So far the Arvind Eye Hospital has cured around 32 million eye patients in India and I am proud to say one of them was my very own Grand father :).

Arvind Eye Hospital : http://www.aravind.org

1, Anna Nagar, Madurai – 625 020, Tamilnadu, India
Phone: +91-452-435 6100,
Fax: +91-452-253 0984
E-mail: patientcare@aravind.org

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