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TKCI Lays Out its Plan to Control Corneal Blindness Globally by 2030

Friday, April 22, 2016 General News J E 4
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LONDON, April 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

The Tej Kohli Cornea Institute (TKCI) in partnership with the world-renowned LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), has today laid out its plan to control corneal blindness, globally, by 2030. This is a five year acceleration from previous estimates and one which will substantially alleviate the impact on economic growth in developing countries that sight impairment causes.

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Corneal blindness is responsible for 4.9 million* of the 39 million blind people in the world and is the third major cause of blindness after cataract and glaucoma. The Tej Kohli Foundation has long been committed to a programme of corneal education and care in India and its partnership with the LVPEI to form TKCI is part of a strategy to accelerate this in India and then globally.

Since the TKCI was founded in December 2015, with an injection of USD 10 million funding from the Tej Kohli Foundation, it has completed 2,000 successful corneal operations in India, including over 1,000 corneal transplants. Following its early success, the TKCI has been invited to review corneal services in Oman and assist them with restarting corneal transplants.

Tej Kohli, Chairman of Kohli Ventures and Founder of the Tej Kohli Foundation said, "Alongside world-class technology and expertise, we now have a programme of education and training, eye research, product development and a global network of resource centres, which makes it possible to extend our vision to control corneal blindness across the globe by 2030."

Pravin Vaddavalli, Director, Tej Kohli Cornea Institute, said, "Corneal blindness and diseases causing it have been on the radar of corneal surgeons for years but with the focus and funding brought in by TKCI, controlling needless blindness by 2030 has for the first time, started to sound like a reality."

The TKCI and LVPEI are developing a network of cornea institutes regionally and eventually around the world which will work together to control corneal blindness. The strategy will encompass direct impact through service delivery and education, and indirect impact through education, research, models, advocacy, plans and policy.

Phase 1 (2 years) 

  • Upgrading and doubling of capacity in all of the LVPEI's four academic/tertiary care campuses in, patient care, education and research
  • Explore and harness technology in the field of cornea disease and blindness
  • Assess the magnitude of the problem in areas of impact

Phase 2 (2-8 years) 

  • Network of cornea centres in India and internationally
  • Four regional centres in India
  • 10 international centres
  • Help in the development of cornea units in medical colleges

Research & education innovation (throughout Phase 1 & 2 and beyond) 

  • New techniques of stem cell therapy
  • Effective control of corneal infections
  • Eye banking model for developing countries
  • Technology transfer to corneal preservation media
  • Training eye care professionals in the care of corneal transplants
  • Primary and secondary eye care interventions for corneal problems
  • Corneal transplants in children
  • Comprehensive care of end stage of corneal disease
  • Preventive strategies at the primary level

NOTES TO EDITORS 

*Globally, bilateral (both-eyes) corneal blindness is estimated to be 4.9 million persons or 12.5% of 39 million blind, utilizing WHO 2010 global blindness data and WHO 2002 sub-region causes (updated by 2010 data) to define regional prevalence. 

Reference Press; 2009. World Health Assembly Document A62/7: Action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. 2009 - 2013; pp. 7-17.

Unilateral (one-eye) corneal blindness is not captured in WHO data, but is estimated to occur in 23 million globally out of 285 million visually impaired.

Reference - Indian J Ophthalmol. 2012 Sep-Oct; 60(5): 423-427. 

About the Tej Kohli Foundation 

The Tej Kohli Foundation was founded in 2005 by Tej Kohli and his wife Wendy as an autonomous, non-profit organisation with the initial goal of helping disadvantaged children break free from poverty.  Areas of work include treating and preventing corneal blindness; offering midday meals for malnourished children; vocational training for the physically disabled; improving the health of rural communities; and empowering women. The Tej Kohli Foundation currently operates in Costa Rica and India, whilst constantly exploring new countries where they can have the most impact on society at large. The Foundation is supported through the success of Kohli Ventures and the skills and intellectual capital provided by its senior management team and assistance of volunteers.

About L V Prasad Eye Institute 

The L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) was established in 1986-87 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 Center for VISION 2020: The Right to Sight initiative. LVPEI has six active arms to its areas of operations namely Clinical Services, Education, Research, Rehabilitation and Sight Enhancement Services, Eye Bank, and Public Health and Rural Outreach.

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