Eradicating preventable blindness.
300,000 surgeries performed annually.
Despite the vast need for eye surgery to prevent blindness, national health institutions in India are unable to meet demand. Moreover, while cataracts are almost always curable, the poor often cannot afford the surgery needed to restore vision. Recognizing this service gap, Govindappa Venkataswamy founded the Aravind Eye Care System in 1976 as a supplemental health initiative aimed at combating unnecessary blindness amongst India’s growing and aging population. Beginning with a single 11-bed hospital, the organization has grown today into one of the largest facilities for eye care in the world.
Key to the ground-breaking Aravind approach is a unique ‘assembly-line’ treatment method that increases productivity by a factor of ten, combined with an innovative non-profit model that uses the fees of wealthier patients to subsidize free service delivery to the bulk of its poorer clientele. Together, these elements allow the Aravind Eye Care System to perform over 300,000 eye surgeries per year (more than 3.6 million in the organization’s lifetime), 70 percent of which are subsidized or provided free to the poor.
Further spreading the impact, Aravind Eye Care System’s community outreach programme brings its affordable eye care services and education to local populations across India, serving almost 920,000 patients in 2010 alone.
(Photo © Aravind Eye Care System)