WE HAVE ALREADY
THOUSANDS OF LIVES
A LEGACY OF TREATMENT INTERVENTIONS
The first incarnation Tej Kohli Cornea Institute was inaugurated by Tej Kohli in 2015 at the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, a World Health Organization collaborating centre that is also a global leader in research and development, preventative medicine and corneal transplants.
Between 2016 and the end of 2019 the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute welcomed 223,404 outpatients, completed 43,255 surgical procedures, collected 38,225 donor corneas into its eye bank, utilized 22,176 donor corneas, trained 152 clinicians, published 202 papers and gave 892 educational presentations. In 2019 alone, 5,736 patients were cured of blindness.
This early incarnation of the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute was uniquely adept at solving the problem of reaching people living with blindness or visual impairment in the hard-to-reach rural areas of India where 66% of Indians live. Eye care clinics were taken to villages by mobile diagnostics vans where makeshift operating theatres undertook corneal transplants.
Images of the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute can be found in the gallery and stories of the patients whose lives were transformed by free treatment at the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute can be watched on the Tej Kohli Foundation YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/tejkohlifoundation
However given the pervasiveness of poverty blindness worldwide this direct approach of interventions is neither affordable, sustainable or scalable as a realistic long term solution. Whilst prevalence of avoidable and curable blindness in poorer countries may be slightly falling, the absolute number of blind is still increasing due to the demographics in poorer countries where populations are growing and ageing.
Therefore after Tej Kohli committed a further $14 million to the cause in 2020, the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute began to refocus its efforts on the development of an affordable, accessible and scalable solution to ending poverty blindness under the wide umbrella of the Tej Kohl Foundation.
BUILDING EYE BANK INFRASTRUCTURE
The biggest challenge to deploying large-scale projects of intervention which can effectively prevent, alleviate and cure needless and avoidable forms of blindness is infrastructure. The cost of performing a corneal transplant operation falls drastically when using human-donated cornea rather than synthetic cornea. However to make this option accessible requires the building of eye bank infrastructure, as well as the processes needed for harvesting cornea in a timely way.
The Tej Kohli Cornea Institute has supported the build of, and relied heavily upon, this eye bank infrastructure, which now serves as a template model that can be adopted elsewhere too.
UK RESEARCH NETWORK
A core component in the fight to end avoidable corneal blindness is technology transfer. Therefore in the United Kingdom, the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute is committed to building a UK research network dedicated to 'maintaining the surface of the eye in a clear and transparent state'.
Our 'UK Centre For Interdisciplinary Innovation' also aspires to fund and support groundbreaking new research and treatments in the United Kingdom which can then be 'transferred' into the poor and underserved communities where needless corneal blindness remains highly pervasive.