Hyderabad: In yet another initiative aimed at providing high-end healthcare services free to the poor, the health authorities here are set to start corneal transplantation and eye banking services at State-run SD Eye Hospital.
The eye hospital has become the first government facility in Telangana to offer eye bank facility, which will collect eyes or corneas and later conduct corneal transplant surgeries free of cost to poor patients.
The Rs 2 crore worth eye bank facility with an exclusive building and infrastructure has already come up at SD Eye Hospital and will be inaugurated by the Health Minister, Dr C Laxma Reddy, here on Wednesday.
Corneal transplants are expensive and at private hospitals, depending on the patient’s condition, such transplants cost anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh, which will now be offered free to patients.
“We now have the ability to conduct eye donations and also take up corneal transplantation for poor people. We have also acquired the required infrastructure and have enough talented senior doctors to conduct the surgeries. It’s an important facility and will prove to be a boon for needy patients,” Superintendent, SD Eye Hospital, Dr Ravinder Goud said.
The new facility will go a long way in meeting the huge demand for corneas, which continues to pose a challenge for healthcare professionals in TS and elsewhere.
In fact, according to National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) only 45,000 corneas are donated every year in India, while the demand is somewhere close to two lakh. Every year, anywhere between 20,000 and 25,000 fresh patients with corneal blindness are added to the waiting list.
According to the hospital doctors, in due course of time, the eye bank will be developed into a full-fledged facility that can provide 24-hours service to patients. The facility does have full-fledged staff and infrastructure to collect eyes reliably, enough space and equipment to test for AIDS and Hepatitis B contamination.