The first incarnation Tej Kohli Cornea Institute was established in 2015 at the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, a World Health Organization collaborating centre that is 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.
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
This early incarnation of the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute was also uniquely adept at solving the problems of reaching people living with blindness or visual impairment in the hard-to-reach rural areas where 66% of Indians live. Eye care clinics were taken to villages by mobile diagnostics vans where makeshift operating theatres also undertook corneal transplants.
After making tens of thousands of treatment interventions to end the poverty blindness of individuals and families in India and committing a further $14 million, in 2020 the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute refocused its efforts on the development of an affordable, accessible and scalable solution to poverty blindness, and established a series of fifteen grants.
Direct interventions by the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute have changed thousands of lives by taking existing treatments and cures directly into underserved communities. But given the pervasiveness of poverty blindness worldwide this direct approach is neither affordable or scalable as a long term solution that can be made accessible to those in need.
In order to eradicate corneal blindness worldwide will require new treatments and solutions derived from scientific and technological innovations. And so by evolving into a multidisciplinary global hub for innovations the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute's mission is a world where nobody is blind because they cannot afford or access treatment.
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