King George Medical University (KGMU) and SightLife announced the opening of the KGMU UP Community Eye Bank, a state-of-the-art eye bank dedicated to restoring sight to the corneal blind. Supported by The Hans Foundation and in technical partnership with Sitapur Eye Hospital Trust, the first of its kind public-private partnership in Uttar Pradesh will provide a full scope of services ranging from counselling for families, cornea/eye collection and processing, distribution of corneas to surgeons, and training for technicians and surgeons. All is done to ultimately restore sight to the corneal blind.
The new eye bank, which is operated by the global not-for-profit organization, SightLife, will be located inside the trauma centre at KGMU. Aided by the highly trained and dedicated 24×7 staff, the Community Eye Bank has advanced microscope technology for precise determination of cornea suitability. The facility will be integrated with the national helpline number 1919 which will connect all the enquiries directly to the community eye bank.
“Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India, with two-thirds the population of the U.S.,” explained Atul Kapoor, Vice President of Asia, Global Programs for SightLife. “The U.S. performed almost 50,000 transplants last year, whereas in UP only 650 cornea transplants were done. This eye bank will enable us to provide life-changing surgeries and restore sight of so many more people waiting in darkness. And we couldn’t be more thrilled.”
“With the advent of this eye bank, we are now in a position to remove corneal blindness in our state and we are very excited about that,” states Dr. Arun K. Sharma, Associate Professor of KGMU, Ophthalmology Department and KGMU UP Community Eye Bank Medical Director. “Come join us in this great endeavor of eliminating corneal blindness.”
“Eye care has been a significant part of health interventions supported by The Hans Foundation (THF). By supporting KGMU and SightLife in setting up of this eye bank in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh is a manifestation of our continued resolve in this direction. THF has been supporting several projects where treatment and services are provided to visually impaired. We feel that this first of its kind eye bank in Uttar Pradesh will contribute significantly in reducing the backlog of corneal blindness in the state and in creating awareness around eye donation. With support from THF, the facility over the next few years will be developed as a centre of excellence for corneal transplantation surgery and recovery in UP,” added Lt. Gen S M Mehta, CEO, The Hans Foundation.
The eye back will be inaugurated by Shri Ram Naik, honorable Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Other dignitaries attending the inaugural function are Prof. Ravi Kant, Vice Chancellor of KGMU, Lt. Gen S. M. Mehta (Retd), AVSM, SM, VSM, Chief Executive Officer of The Hans Foundation, Mrs. Claire Bonilla, Chief Global Officer of SightLife, Dr. Vinita Singh, HOD Ophthalmology Department of KGMU, Dr. Madhu Bhadauria, Director of Sitapur Eye Hospital and Dr. Arun K. Sharma, Eye Bank Medical Director of KGMU.
With plans to replicate the eye bank in other states with a similar need, the KGMU UP Community Eye Bank will be the gold standard of partnership, excellence, and commitment to eliminating corneal blindness.