The LVPEI Eye Bank Network Distributed 40% of Corneas in India

LVPEI Hyderabad Eye Bank Crosses 50K Mark in Cornea Distribution

Hyderabad, March 2021: L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) is recognized as the Global Centre of Excellence in Eye Banking – the biggest in Asia and developing countries. 40% of the corneas distributed throughout India for sight-restoring corneal transplant surgeries last year were provided by LVPEI Network Eye Banks. Since its inception in 1989, the LVPEI eye bank network has achieved many milestones. It has distributed 61,063 corneas, of which 50,000 (82%), are by the Ramayamma International Eye Bank (RIEB) at LVPEI’s Hyderabad Campus. The Institute also has Eye Bank facilities at its campuses in Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada. 

“Our goal is to ensure that the availability of quality corneal tissue does not remain a barrier in tackling corneal blindness. 1.1 million Indians suffer from corneal blindness. Corneal transplantation, using healthy corneas donated by individuals upon their death, is the only known cure for corneal blindness. LVPEI is contributing phenomenally towards ensuring the availability of quality donor tissues. We have now expanded the scope of our activities beyond our network and have partnered withThe Hans Foundation for setting up Eye Banks in other states of India – where they are needed the most. Two of these eye banks have been set-up in Rishikesh and Guwahati. Within two years, the Eye Bank at Rishikesh was able to supply 194 corneas for transplantation,” shared Dr Prashant Garg, Head, Eye Banking Services, L V Prasad Eye Institute. 

Dr Prashant Garg is also the Technical Advisor to the Global Action Framework for Transplantation group of the World Health Organization (WHO) that focuses on setting up norms, standards and policies for organ and tissue transplantations. In collaboration with other organizations, LVPEI is playing a significant role in drafting the best practices and protocols for Eye Banking in India during the current pandemic times. 

RIEB established afirst-of-its-kind, state-of-the-art-technology, Modular Clean Room facility (ISO Class 5) in 2016 to process corneal tissuesfor advanced corneal surgeries such as pre-cut for partial thickness (lamellar) surgeries. This minimizes the time and effort of the surgeon, reduces the cost and makes the surgery less invasive with quick healing and faster visual recovery. So far, RIEB has provided 6600 pre-cut corneas to surgeons within and outside the LVPEI network. Similar facilities are also available at LVPEI’s other tertiary campuses. 

LVPEIhas been consistently performing over 2000+ corneal transplant surgeries every year for the past several years. So far, over 38,655 corneal transplant surgeries (across the network) have been performed at the institute, which possibly is the highest at a single institute anywhere in the world. The cornea collection numbers stand at – 107,751 (up untilDecember 2020; corneas found unsuitable for surgeries are used for research and for training ophthalmology fellows/residents).  

“We express our sincere thanks to our cornea donor families, partner hospitals and eye donation centres, our collaborators and funders who have helped us in establishing such a robust eye banking facility. The recent prestigious ‘The Greenberg Prize – End Blindness 2020’ that LVPEI has received highlights our global contribution towards eliminating blindness. In the forthcoming future, we will continue our efforts towards establishing eye banks in other states, contribute to research in specific cell-based therapy for corneal problems, and promote best practices in the eye banking sector,” concludes Dr Garg.

About L V Prasad Eye Institute: The L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) was established in 1987 at Hyderabad as a not-for-profit, non-government, public-spirited, comprehensive eye care institution. LVPEI is governed by two trusts: the Hyderabad Eye Institute and the Hyderabad Eye Research Foundation. The Institute is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Prevention of Blindness and a Global Resource Centre for VISION 2020: The Right to Sight initiative. LVPEI has ten active arms to its areas of operations: Clinical Services, Education, Research, Vision Rehabilitation, Rural and Community Eye Health, Eye Banking, Advocacy and Policy Planning, Capacity Building, Innovation and Product Development. 

The LVPEI pyramidal model of eye care delivery currently includes a Centre of Excellence in Hyderabad, 3 tertiary centres in Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, 20 secondary, 4 urban city and 200 primary care vision centres that cover the remotest rural areas in the four states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka.

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