To scale up operations, meet demand

1 million lenses produced last year

Products in demand in India and abroad

MADURAI: A new state-of-the art manufacturing facility has been set up at a cost of Rs.30 crore for Aurolab, products division of Aravind Eye Hospital, in an attempt to scale up its operations and meet the increasing demand for eye care products.

The new facility started at Veerapanchan, near here, will be inaugurated on Sunday. It is now located at Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology near the hospital.

Aurolab manufactures intra ocular lenses (IOL), suture needles, pharmaceuticals, instruments and other requirements of ophthalmic care.

Dr. G. Natchiar, vice-chairman of Aravind Eye Care System, told reporters on Saturday that Aurolab, which was established in 1992 as a products division of the hospital, had come a long way and its products was in demand both in India and outside.

“Aurolab is a charitable trust and it is a model social enterprise dedicated to the cause of eliminating needless blindness. We don’t want to compete with anyone in the general market because the objective is to make high quality ophthalmic products available at affordable prices,” Dr. Natchiar said.

The new manufacturing facility will help in increasing the production capacity by five times from the present capacity of 4,000 lenses per day.

“Forty per cent of cataract surgeries in Tamil Nadu and five per cent of the total surgeries in the country are performed by Aravind Eye Hospital are done by us,” Dr. Natchiar said. She said Aurolab had eight per cent market share of eye care products globally. Last year, the organisation manufactured one million IOLs.

According to P. Balakrishnan, managing director of Aurolab, the “surgical volume” at Aravind Eye Hospital steadily increased after manufacture of lenses was started here.

“Awareness among rural people has gone up due to community outreach camps and Aurolab’s products are used in about 120 countries.” Various hospitals in the country too were placing orders.

Aurolab Trust president G. Srinivasan said the project cost of Rs.30 crore included civil works on about one lakh square feet and infrastructure of global standards.