Hyderabad: In yet another initiative that firmly cements Hyderabad’s place as a top destination for healthcare in the country, the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) is in the process of setting up a unique first of its kind myopia institute on its campus. The top eye research institute has already launched a Special Centre for Myopia at LVPEI, which will be developed into an institute to focus on the disease, which is often overlooked in the public health sector. Studies have indicated that by 2050, nearly half of the world population will be myopic.
The myopia institute will focus on strategies to prevent such a situation from happening in India. “In the coming decades, we are looking at a myopia epidemic, specially among children in the country. We need to prevent this from happening and have to come out with strategies to prevent it and also bring out innovative solutions to handle the expected rise in the case load.
For that, we are developing a myopia institute,” said founder-chair, LVPEI, Dr Gullapalli N Rao.
Interacting with Telangana Today, Dr Rao said LVPEI is working with State governments in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha to prevent the disease among children.
“Children are our future and we are working with governments to focus attention on schools and prevent myopia from becoming an epidemic. We are working with public and private schools to allow children spend at least an hour or two outside and not spend the entire day in a classroom staring at a Tablet or a computer,” Dr Rao said.
Such practices are common in countries like China, Hong Kong and Singapore, where children are encouraged to venture outdoors everyday. “Apart from physical exercise, children will get a chance to see objects located farther during day time. Such measures may appear very small but are important in prevention of myopia,” he said.
Myopia is a medical condition where individuals can see near objects clearly but farther objects become blurry. “If allowed to fester, the medical condition could become complex and individuals can face complications like pathological myopia, retinal detachment and glaucoma. For such ailments, a centre of excellence dedicated to myopia is needed,” he said.
As part of preventing the disease, LVPEI is working with schools to encourage them to involve teachers in recognising eye defects among students. “Our innovation centre has come out with a tool that helps teachers quickly detect certain eye defects in students. Such an exercise can be taken up at the starting of the academic year, so that children can be identified early and defects rectified,” Dr Rao said.
LVPEI achieves 80 pc success with corneal stem cell research
Researchers at LVPEI achieved 80 per cent success rate with corneal stem cell therapy. The hospital’s Stem Cell Therapy Institute has so far treated 2,000 individuals suffering from corneal damage and stem cells were utilised for repair and rejuvenation.
“Sometimes, cornea of individuals gets damaged due to chemical burns or allergic reactions or some other reason. In such situations, stem cell therapy could be useful. Our success rate so far has hovered between 75 per cent and 80 per cent,” Dr Rao said.
Researchers have also completed retinal transplants in animal models and ground is being prepared to conduct human trials. “We are getting prepared for human trials of retinal transplants and it is likely to start in a year,” he said.
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