Hyderabad, Jul 2: Ramayamma International Eye Bank (RIEB), a global leader in eye banking set up at L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), has celebrated its 30th anniversary here on Tuesday. RIEB is the largest eye bank in the world outside the US.Since its inception, RIEB which focused on setting high quality standards and being innovative, has actively promoted and supported the networking and development of eye banks throughout India, and other parts of Asia and the developing world.
In the past 30 years, it has cumulatively harvested 78,642 corneas and distributed over 41,680 of them to needy patients across India.
RIEB has been recognized by SightLife as a ‘Global Centre of Excellence.’ Hyderabad is the only city in Asia with no waiting list for corneal transplants.
Celebrating this achievement, LVPEI Founder and Chair, Dr Gullapalli N Rao, said, "From harvesting just 20 corneas in its first year 1989 to 78,642 corneas this year, RIEB has chartered a phenomenal growth for the country.
The dedicated team at LVPEI has contributed to the evolution of modern eye banking and specialized cornea care in India. We aim to create more milestones in the coming years towards our mission of alleviating avoidable blindness in India and the world, he added.
In 2015, LVPEI created history in the field of Corneal Transplantation by becoming the first ever institute in the world to have performed 20,000 corneal transplants.
The establishment of the eye bank at LVPEI way back in 1989 with financial support from the family of Gunnam Ramayamma (promoters of Nava Bharat Ventures) and technical support from the International Federation of Eye Banks of Baltimore, USA, was primarily to bridge the gap between the need and availability of quality donor corneas, and to create a Centre of Excellence in eye banking.
RIEB has since grown into a major global resource centre and Centre of Excellence in eye banking. In addition to service, the Ramayamma International Eye Bank is also one of the major training centres for eye banking personnel and research in the world.
A whole gamut of specialized activities at the backend goes into achieving the remarkable standards of outcomes at LVPEI.
India has the largest burden of corneal blindness in the world, requiring high quality eye banking system to restore vision to these persons so they can lead optimally productive lives.
As a leader in eye banking across Asia, RIEB has contributed significantly to the effective networking and proliferation of eye banks through promotion of community eye banking programs. Corneas collected from donors are used both in-house and distributed to other centres.
The cost-effective medium used to store corneas – the MK Medium - is manufactured at RIEB and sent to other needy eye banks in India and other neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mongolia and Kenya. RIEB offers certificate courses to different cadres of eye bank personnel. (UNI)