The new facility to have latest machinery and helpful to people of the region

The Ophthalmology Department in the old Government General Hospital (GGH) building will soon have an additional feature.

The block will house an eye bank that is likely to be operational in the next couple of months.

As part of National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB), a Centrally-sponsored scheme launched in 1976 to reduce the prevalence of blindness to 0.3% by 2020, Andhra Pradesh State Programme for Control of Blindness has sanctioned three eye banks in the State.

Besides Vijayawada, the other two branches will be set up at Kurnool and Warangal. “The new facility will have latest machinery and will be of immense help to people of this region. Private eye banks do not have full-fledged equipment.

A specular microscope valued at Rs.15 lakh will allow accurate evaluation of corneal endothelial cells while the cornea is in-vitro in a specially designed storage chamber,” says P. Prabhakar Sastry, coordinator of Krishna District Programme for Control of Blindness (DPCB).

The DBCS, which was earlier in Machilipatnam, was shifted to the city two years ago.

The district Collector is the chairman of the society.

Preservation of the eyeballs for a longer time will also be possible now, he says, explaining about short-term, mid-term and long-term preservation of the eyeballs.

Beside specular microscope, the eye bank is being equipped with other tools like a deep refrigerator, a laminar flow machine for sterilisation, split lamp, magnifying machine, moist chamber, collection baskets and other infrastructure like computers, and furniture.

“For the purpose, we’ll have to raise funds to the tune of Rs. 30 lakh at the local-level,” says Mr. Sastry informing that a local MLA had already given his consent for help.

Specialists

Of the nearly 60-70 eye specialists in the city, only a few (five or six) of them were corneal transplantation surgeons, he said, adding that the Krishna district had referral services at Vijayawada, Machilipatnam, Gudivada and Nandigama.

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