Alakh Nayan Mandir Eye Institute is an advanced secondary care centre that became our partner in 2011. The Institute was founded in 1997 to serve the poor of Udaipur and surrounding districts in India’s northern state of Rajasthan, which has a population of over 68 million.
In 2011, we began a four-year Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program (HBCEHP) with Alakh Nayan Mandir to deal with these challenges. This program serves almost 200,000 people in an area made up of over 250 villages.
In 2014, with support from the Government of Canada and Operation Eyesight, Alak Nayan Mandir established a vision centre in Jhadol Block to support the HBCEHP.
With a population of 130,000 and an average literacy rate of 89 percent, Alipurduar is a melting pot of multiple cultures. Its population comprises many people from Bangladesh and Bhutan and several tribal groups.
Alipurduar Lions Eye Hospital is one of the two major hospitals in the area and the only eye hospital in the region. The hospital was established in 1995 by the Lions Club of Alipurduar and serves nearly four million people across two Indian states and the neighbouring countries of Bhutan and Bangladesh.
We’ve signed a partnership agreement with the hospital to contribute towards its overall improvement with specific concentration on primary and community eye health. A HBCEHP will specifically target the most remote communities living in the rural areas of the region.
In 2014, thanks to support from the Government of Canada, we established a vision centre at Dakshin Sonapur village in the Jalpaiguri district.
Aman Advanced Eye Hospital is a secondary eye care centre established in 2013. We partnered with the hospital from the beginning, and initiated a HBCEHP in the slum settlements of Royal Market, which has a population of 100,000 people.
The project is in the first phase of implementation, and community health workers are conducting surveys in the project location to assess the prevalence of eye conditions. The project aims to increase awareness about eye diseases, improve health-seeking behaviour and integrate primary eye care into primary health care.
Arogyavaram Eye Hospital on India’s east coast is distinguished as the inspiration for Operation Eyesight. Founded by Baptist church missionaries more than 100 years ago as a general hospital, Arogyavaram came to the attention of a Baptist congregation in Calgary, Alberta when Dr. Ben Gullison spoke to the group.
Gullison, a Canadian doctor working at the hospital in the early 1960s, was alarmed by the growing number of patients requiring eye care. His description of the plight of Sompeta residents captured the interest of Art Jenkyns, head of the First Baptist Church men’s group in Calgary.
The group’s early fundraising support grew until a formal structure was required, which became Operation Eyesight. It was one of the first organizations to target eye health in developing countries.
In 1965, the general hospital in the city of Sompeta became Operation Eyesight’s first partner. It soon became Arogyavaram Eye Hospital, the first eye hospital in the Srikakulam district, one of the first organizations to target eye health in developing countries, and one of the first such specialist hospitals in India. It was a model for many more, a distinction it retains.
In partnership with L V Prasad Visahkhapatnam Eye Institute, Arogyavaram has established five vision centres in the surrounding areas of Srikakulam District.
After more than 50 years of partnership with Operation Eyesight, the Arogyavaram Eye Hospital retains its founding values of quality and accessibility and its ultimate goal of providing the best for the poorest.
Although Meghalaya is one of India’s smaller states, there are significant challenges to obtaining quality eye care for its nearly three million citizens. That’s why we partnered with Bansara Eye Care Centre in 2013. With a motto of “I Care for Eye Care,” the hospital aims to provide quality ophthalmic services to all people needing eye care.
Bansara Eye Care Centre is a unique hospital in the state: an advanced secondary eye care centre with equipment to conduct surgeries, comprehensive eye check-ups, primary eye care and community screening programs. The hospital, in partnership with the state government and Operation Eyesight, is working to strengthen the public health care system and to eliminate avoidable blindness from the region.
With support from the state government, a HBCEHP was initiated in 2014. The project villages are spread over three districts or administrative blocks. Located on the foothills of the Himalayas, serving mainly local tribes, the project aims to develop understanding about eye health diseases, encourage positive health-seeking behaviour and integrate primary eye care services into existing health care services.
The state of Assam is known for its rich variety of plant and wildlife, its famous tea and Majuli, Asia’s largest river island. Until recently, there were no eye care services at all available on this 420-square km island, and residents needed to take the ferry to the mainland to seek care. During flood season, this trip was impossible.
Operation Eyesight and Chandraprabha Eye Hospital, an advanced secondary eye care hospital located in the city of Jorhat, have partnered to deliver a HBCEHP to the 150,000 people living on Majuli. Now residents are able to access eye care services all year.
Investment by our donors in this project brought much-needed eye care to an underserved, vulnerable population. A vision centre has been set up on the island; it’s staffed by trained technicians from the island itself.
Now the people of Majuli have access to primary eye care services closer to where they live, which eliminates the necessity of long and expensive journeys. Those living with avoidable blindness can now be properly diagnosed and treated, and residents have increased education and awareness of health issues.
In 2014, with support from the Government of Canada and Operation Eyesight, Chandra Prabha established three more vision centres.
With over 200 million inhabitants, the state of Uttar Pradesh is located in India’s north, where it borders Nepal. It’s the most populous state in India, and also the most populous country subdivision in the world.
That’s why it’s no small matter when we say that our partner CL Gupta Eye Institute, located in Moradabad, has a full-fledged pediatric eye unit that is the best in the state. The hospital is equipped with state of the art diagnostic and surgical equipment, specializing in treating various eye problems. The main aim of the institute is to provide the same quality of treatment and patient care to everyone.
With our guidance, the institute has developed a strategic plan to expand their services and coverage to three districts in western Uttar Pradesh.
We’re currently implementing a HBCEHP, in partnership with the hospital, to provide eye care to over 190,000 people. In 2014, we helped the hospital strengthen two of its vision centres.
The largest hospital in the region, Dr. JL Rohatgi Eye Hospital also serves as a training institute for ophthalmology. The eye hospital was established as a unit of the “Association for the Prevention of Blindness,’ which was founded in the city of Kanpur in 1946 with the mission to eliminate needless blindness in Uttar Pradesh.
We’ve partnered with the hospital since 2012, and are involved in a change management initiative to improve the operation effectiveness of the hospital, enabling it to deliver quality, sustainable eye care services. We’re also supporting a HBCEHP in the underserved Akbarpur Block of Kanpur Dehat District, home to nearly 1.8 million people.
With support from the Government of Canada and Operation Eyesight, the hospital has established two vision centres to serve as a vital linkage between the community and the base hospital. In 2014, in partnership with Operation Eyesight, the Government of Canada and Seeing Is Believing, the hospital established three vision centres in Akbarpur, Govind Nagar slum and Unnao. The hospital also launched two community eye health projects in Unnao and Gorvind Nagar.
With a population of some 61 million people, Karnataka state is a drought-prone region with very limited health facilities. Although the state has a better record of health care and child care than most Indian states, many areas still lack even basic health care.
Beginning in 2010, we partnered with Dr. Salins Eye Hospital in the city of Bidar. With our help, Dr. Salins Hospital will be able to extend its community eye health program into the Aurad administrative area.
We’re also helping the hospital improve its operational effectiveness, allowing it to deliver quality eye care services on a sustainable basis. Many medical and para-medical staff in the hospital have received training and skill upgrading, thanks to support from our generous donors!
Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital was established in Delhi in 1962. It was equipped with the best instruments and facilities available at the time, making it the first eye hospital of its kind. Dr. Shroff’s legacy has been continued by both his sons and grandsons.
Located in Alwar, Rajasthan, the hospital is the oldest of several satellite centres. It’s now implementing a HBCEHP and is developing strong relationships with local communities. The hospital in Alwar is a full-fledged secondary eye care centre, serving the entire district of Alwar as well as neighbouring districts such as Bharatpur and Dausa.
Through generous support from the Government of Canada and Operation Eyesight, the hospital recently renovated and established two vision centres.
DS Karad Eye Institute, an advanced secondary eye hospital, is located in the Marathawada Division of Maharashtra. The Marathawada Division accounts for 17 percent of the state’s population, but is home to nearly 30 percent of those who live below the poverty line in Maharashtra. All eight districts of the region, including Latur, figure in the list of the 100 poorest districts in the country.
In 2012, DS Karad Eye Institute became our partner; and since then we’ve supported the implementation of a HBCEHP in Latur district. With regular technical support through Operation Eyesight, the hospital was renovated and modernised to strengthen their service delivery.
Thanks to the generous funding of our donors and support from the Government of Canada, two vision centres have been established in two districts to bring eye care to those in need.
ICARE Eye Hospital was established in 1993 by the Ishwar Charitable Trust. We’ve partnered with ICARE since 2013, and are supporting them to implement a HBCEHP in the Khora re-settlement slum colony in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
Recently, Operation Eyesight helped establish a vision centre in the slum in partnership with Seeing Is Believing and the Government of Canada.
Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, is located in the northern part of India. Kanpur, the second major town in Uttar Pradesh, has been an industrial hub for many years. The Khairabad Eye Hospital based there has been working to eliminate avoidable blindness in the region since 1976.
We began supporting Kahairabad Eye Hospital in 2012 by implementing a HBCEHP in the Dibyapur block of Kanpur District. The project aims to improve knowledge about eye health diseases, improve health-seeking behaviour and integrate primary eye care services into existing health care services.
Recently a vision centre was opened in Auraiya block with support from the Government of Canada and Operation Eyesight.
Little Flower Hospital began in 1936 as a primary health centre in response to the health care needs of the community. In 1964, the ophthalmology department was established. The hospital is now a tertiary eye care centre – the only one in the entire state of Kerala. The hospital is also one of our oldest partners.
The hospital is run by the Catholic Church, and its director has ambitious plans for increasing eye care service at Little Flower Hospital by taking up a district-wide initiative to address blindness. Operation Eyesight contributed funds for the construction of a new facility to house the eye department in 2010.
With support from the Government of Canada and Operation Eyesight, the hospital has initiated activities to start a vision centre at Kanjangad, a town located in North Kerala.
Popularly known as the twin city to Hyderabad, Secunderabad was founded as a British military district in 1806. Together, the two cities form India’s sixth-largest metropolitan area.
It was here that in 2007, the Pushpagiri Vitreo Retina Eye Institute was founded as a “super speciality” hospital. Its goal is to control emerging causes of blindness, such as diabetic retinopathy, and it is the first hospital of its kind in Andhra Pradesh.
Pushpagiri Eye Institute became an Operation Eyesight partner in 2013, and together we’re implementing a HBCEHP in Hafiz Baba Nagar, a slum in the outskirts of Hyderabad. In addition, the project is helping to increase the rates of immunization and vitamin A supplementation, and ensure that those at risk of diabetes and high blood pressure (both of which can threaten vision) are identified and receive appropriate care.
Sharat Laser Eye Centre, an Operation Eyesight partner since 2012, is the largest private practitioner-led eye hospital in the local region. Sharat Laser Eye Centre caters to both paying and non-paying clientele. Together we’re implementing a HBCEHP in the district.
In 2014, Sharat Laser Eye Centre, in partnership with Operation Eyesight and Mulkanoor Cooperative Bank, established a new vision centre linked with the HBCEHP.
Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital is located in the rapidly-growing town of Siliguri at the base of the Himalayas. This secondary eye centre serves 470,000 people, many of whom cross the border from Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh to seek care.
The hospital was started by the Lions Club of Siliguri Greater in 1995 with the support of Operation Eyesight. The local club is very active and is responsible for close to 75 percent of the funding the hospital has received for capital grants in the last five years.
The hospital has been so successful in generating revenue from its optical and pharmacy services that it has built two vision centres within a 100-km radius of Siliguri.
Hospital staff also run a HBCEHP in Rajganj Block, where 80 percent of the population live on tea plantations and in isolated forest villages. Established with support from the Government of Canada and Operation Eyesight, this program provides sustainable services to help ensure avoidable blindness becomes a thing of the past in this region.
Dr. Shobha Naveen, one of the leading ophthalmologists in India, established the Siloam Eye Hospital using her own funds. Within one year of operation in cramped, rental quarters, Dr. Naveen built her eye care centre into a self-sustaining operation.
In 2007, thanks to an anonymous donor, Operation Eyesight financed a new eye care hospital under the direction of Dr. Naveen. The new facility serves more than a million people.
The hospital reaches into the community, establishing relationships and support amongst community leaders which increases the number of people using Siloam’s eye care services. Dr. Naveen’s commitment to eliminating preventable blindness and providing basic eye care is shared by community leaders, who are active participants of all her campaigns to create awareness about glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and other vision problems.
Comprehensive eye care and community outreach programs delivered through four vision centres are making inroads in the district. Vision centres are fixed sites, usually donated by local communities, where locals have eye problems diagnosed and referrals made to Siloam Eye Hospital for specific treatment.
We’re currently supporting the community eye health program serving the Peddamandam and Goramkonda administrative regions. Siloam Eye Hospital itself serves 210 villages in an area that otherwise lacks eye health programs or trained personnel to provide eye care services.
When Sri Sai Lions Netralaya founder Ashok Kumar was a student of engineering at the Birsa Institute of Technology in Sindi, he volunteered at eye camps held by the local Rotary Club. He retained his desire to help those in need of eye care.
After being elected as District Governor of Lions Clubs International in 2000, Kumar realized that, despite being a state with considerable avoidable blindness due to poverty and malnutrition, Bihar did not have a single charitable institution dedicated to the elimination of blindness.
That realization led to the founding of Sri Sai Lions Netralaya in the Patna District of Bihar. The Patna District is the most populous district in Bihar, with a population of 5.8 million.
In 2015, we began collaborating with the hospital on a community eye health project in Fathua. During 2015, the Fathua vision centre was refurbished with equipment and renovated with technical assistance from Operation Eyesight.
We partnered with the hospital in 2013 and are now in the process of initiating a community-based program in Guwahati. The project aims to improve awareness about eye diseases in the community, develop positive health-seeking behaviour and integrate primary eye care to primary health care.
In 2014, with the support of the Government of Canada, Operation Eyesight implemented a vision centre in Sonapur in the Kamrup District.
In partnership with four of our partner L V Prasad Eye Institute’s secondary eye care centres, we’re bringing eye care to almost 600,000 people spread across the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Prospective patients living mostly in rural areas will be served through the Sunetra project. Two partners have already started providing services to the identified poor patients.
St. Gregorious Balagram Eye Hospital has an unusual history among the hospitals supported by Operation Eyesight donors. As the nearby city of Hyderabad grew, Yacharam village became closer to one of India’s largest cities, but the people living in outlying rural areas still needed help.
About 25 years ago, an orphanage was founded in Yacharam under the direction of the Orthodox Syrian Church of India. What began as an orphanage for the healthy children of leprosy patients has grown to include a hospital and a seniors’ residence.
We’ve been in partnership with St. Gregorios since its inception in 2004. In addition to longstanding clinical services, Operation Eyesight initiated a HBCEHP to serve people in Yacharam and nearby communities – an area with a population of about 150,000.
In 2014 this program reached new heights as Operation Eyesight and St. Gregorios were able to declare an entire village avoidable blindness free for World Sight Day. In celebration of this, Operation Eyesight and St. Gregorios were awarded the Innovation Excellence Award from Vision 2020 India.
Also in 2014, with support from the Government of Canada, Operation Eyesight constructed a new operating theatre at the hospital, enabling doctors to increase the number of surgeries performed.
Prior to 2015, there were only two eye hospitals in India with comprehensive eye cancer services. In October 2015, we were proud to add a third by launching the Operation Eyesight Universal Institute for Eye Cancer.
The need in India for eye cancer services is great. Four children a day are born there with eye cancer, and India has 5,000 new cases each year, the highest in the world. But the good news is that timely treatment can save 95 percent of children’s lives, and 75 percent of children’s vision.
The new centre, which was established at the L V Prasad Eye Institute in the city of Hyderabad, provides comprehensive treatment for the entire range of ophthalmic tumors in both adults and children. It offers critically required services to India and other developing countries through research, capacity-building and education programs. We intend to grow the Institute into a global resource for eye cancer, generating public awareness and developing a cost-effective model for the treatment of eye cancer.
The Institute was made possible thanks to the amazing generosity of an anonymous Canadian family. They’ve supported our work for many years and recognize the critical need for affordable care. Like all of us at Operation Eyesight, they believe in Dr. Gullison’s vision of “the best for the poorest.”
We’ve been working with Visakhapatnam Eye Institute for over 35 years. In 2006, we funded construction of the Visakhapatnam Eye Institute, one of the two tertiary hospitals in India supported by our donors.
When a hospital is self-funding, Operation Eyesight usually directs its resources to other projects; but at Vizag, we’ll stay involved to assist with training. We’re developing educational programs to train vision technicians, as well as more sophisticated courses for those in high demand specialties.
We’re funding and delivering training not only for staff at Vizag but for others who work throughout the region to provide eye care services to rural areas.
Currently, we’re working with Visakhapatnam to link five vision centres to Arogyavaram Eye Hospital. Visakhapatnam will operate these centres, while Arogyavaram will serve as a referral centre.
Visakhapatnam Eye Institute has now made the transition from project partner to what we call a “strategic partner.” These are partner hospitals that we’ve worked with in the past, investing significantly into building the hospital, providing equipment and training staff.
Hospital-Based Community Eye Health
A blend of community eye care, primary health care and community development. Through this model, which was developed by our India staff, hospitals develop the capacity to offer quality services and make them available to more patients.
Community Health Workers
Women and men who work and live in the communities surrounding a hospital who have received training to identify eye health problems and conduct door-to-door surveys. They’re able to reach each individual and refer patients to an appropriate level of care.
Permanent facilities staffed by trained eye care personnel, established at strategic locations to provide services like eye exams, diagnosis and referral of eye problems, and fittings for prescription eyeglasses. A full 85 percent of our vision centres become financially self-sustaining within six months through the sale of custom eyeglasses, which funds eyeglasses for those unable to afford them.