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Corneal transplantation surgery performed in rural India

Sattenapalle (Guntur, Andhra Pradesh): L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) on Monday said its doctors have conducted a corneal transplantation surgery at its secondary eye care centre, the Edward and Soona Brown Eye Centre, at Dhulipalla village in Sattenapalli Mandal, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh.

Corneal transplantation surgery being conducted at Edward & Soona Brown Eye Centre, Dhulipalla
Corneal transplantation surgery being conducted at Edward & Soona Brown Eye Centre, Dhulipalla

Sight restoring corneal transplantation surgery is traditionally done in advanced surgical centres, mainly located in large cities. This makes it hard for patients from the remote rural interiors to travel to the cities and stay for the duration required. It also sets them back financially as they have to forego their daily wages and also of the person accompanying them, according to a statement.

LVPEI’s 15 rural secondary eye centres, such as the Edward and Soona Brown Eye Centre in Dhulipalla village, so far have been performing cataract and simple glaucoma surgeries. On Monday, they successfully scaled up their medical and surgical reach to the doorsteps of India’s rural hinterlands by performing their first ever corneal transplantation for which the corneal donor tissue was carefully transported from LVPEI’s Ramayamma International Eye Bank in Hyderabad.

The surgical team of expert doctors from the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute of L V Prasad Eye Institute and the ophthalmologist in Dhulipalla centre performed the procedure.

“The doctors stationed at Dhulipalla have been trained to take care of post operative care of corneal transplant patients. Thus the patient need not travel anywhere else at all,” said Dr Pravin Krishna Vaddavalli, corneal surgeon and director of the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute at L V Prasad Eye Institute. “What’s more, the patient can even return home the same day after the transplant, thus saving time and resources for her family,” he 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.

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