L V P E I Experience - L V Prasad Eye Institute

Our Support

The two Founding Organisations of L V Prasad Eye Institute were the Hyderabad Eye Institute and the Indo American Eye Care Society. The Founding Governing Board of Hyderabad Eye Institute included Mr A Ramesh Prasad, Prof V Ramalingaswami, Dr Narla Tata Rao, Mr K Rama Rao, Mr K P Prasad and Dr Gullapalli N Rao. The Founding Governing Board of Indo American Eye Care Society included Prof Brijen Gupta, Dr H Janardhan, Dr Y M Jay and Dr Gullapalli N Rao.

As L V Prasad Eye Institute approaches its Silver Jubilee Year in 2012, we remember our founding trustees and how crucial their support was in those early years. We are grateful for their helping hand and profi le some of them here.


Mr Ramesh Prasad

An engineer by training, Mr Ramesh Prasad is Managing Director of Prasad Film Laboratories. A founder trustee, he is the longest serving member on the Hyderabad Eye Institute's governing board.

He recalls, "My father, Shri L V Prasad, was a man of cinema, a humble man who worked his way up in tinsel town Mumbai's fi lm studios, where he arrived with just 100 rupees in his pocket and a heart full of dreams. He had little schooling and did not have much knowledge of Hindi or English. Starting at the bottom, he became a ticket collector/gatekeeper at Mumbai's famed Dreamland theatre. Years later, Shri L V Prasad's hugely popular fi lm "Khilona" ran to packed houses at the same theatre and, one heady evening as they celebrated the Silver Jubilee 25th week, he recalled how he had served as a ticket collector there once! Eventually, he went on to win the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award for lifetime achievement. And the road in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, where his production labs stand is named after him."

Sri L V Prasad, then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
Sri N.T.Rama Rao and Dr.G.N.Rao during the
stone laying ceremony of L V Prasad Eye Institute in 1987

It was Dr Mullapudi Venkataratnam who brought Dr Rao's ambition of setting up a world class eye institute to the notice of Mr L V Prasad, who wanted to invest the profi ts from the L V Prasad Charitable Trust, after the huge success of his fi lm "Ek duuje ke liye" in a worthy cause. "When we thought of supporting Dr Rao, we did not know who he was, and we did not have any conditions," says Mr Ramesh Prasad, "We were impressed with his sincerity." Dr Rao's proposed eye hospital fi t the bill perfectly good eyesight is needed to enjoy fi lms. The partnership was well-matched.

In retrospect, the family feels they have received back more than they invested! Mr Ramesh Prasad says the family never imagined that the Institute would grow into such a world renowned Centre of Excellence. The investment made by his father gives him tremendous satisfaction. "We are now in Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam also," he declares with pride, revealing his complete identifi cation with the LVPEI eye care brand. "It is the best thing my father did in his life," he says. "We continue to support the Institute's work, which shows our total satisfaction with its progress. I am thrilled at the growing number of patients that LVPEI is able to treat free of cost. We will continue to support the institute in future as well."

Prof Brijen Gupta One of Dr Rao's earliest supporters, who continues to tirelessly raise funds in the United States for LVPEI. He is a pillar of support for Dr Rao, unstinting in his commitment and unquestioning in his support. While his name is familiar to LVPEI's management and faculty, he prefers to keep a low profi le. Prof Brijen Gupta studied at Banaras, Oxford, Yale and Columbia Universities and taught at Columbia and Universities of Chicago and Rochester. An outstanding writer and orator, his expertise spans many fi elds like history, politics, development and economics. He is considered a father fi gure among Rochester's Indian community and singlehandedly nurtured the Indo-American Eye Care Society, the organization created to mobilize support for LVPEI in the United States. Indeed, the Indo-American Eye Care Society was a forerunner to the Hyderabad Eye Institute.

G Pratibha Rao Pratibha Rao is one of the hitherto unrecognized persons who has played an important role in the creation and development of LVPEI. She has had a signifi cant direct role as the fi rst major donor for the project which catalysed the fundraising in the United States even before Hyderabad Eye Institute was founded. When the decision to return to India was taken, she supported it unhesitatingly, leaving behind a very comfortable and settled life in the US. Over the years, she has encouraged Dr Rao to move forward with the project and has been a constant source of ideas and support for its evolution. In the initial phase, she single-handedly developed the entire aesthetic profi le of the Institute and worked relentlessly to implement this, creating a unique LVPEI identity. This has led to the defi nitive description of LVPEI as a place that "does not look or feel like a hospital". Her next major task was to create a framework for the effi cient functioning of our Education Centre. Her attention to detail and effort to ensure that everything was done right put this aspect of LVPEI on the right path. In its fi rst few years the Education Centre benefi ted from her direct supervision. Following this, her role as Managing Editor of Indian Journal of Ophthalmology was critical for the transformation of this journal from a struggling, erratic, low quality publication into a journal of international repute. She personally motivated the ophthalmic industry to partner in this major effort to enhance the image of Indian ophthalmology, thus making the journal fi nancially sound.

Much to our loss, she later moved on to a larger platform of democratic reforms, helping to found Lok Satta, a civil society organization dedicated to governance reforms. She is also one of the founders of the Lok Satta Party, where she plays an important leadership role.

Indirectly, her unreserved support to Dr Gullapalli N Rao has helped him lead LVPEI through all these years with a strong focus.

In so many ways, Pratibha Rao has been responsible for what LVPEI is today.

Prof V Ramalingaswami

Prof V Ramalingaswami One of India's most eminent scientists ever and internationally renowned pathologist and nutrition scientist, Prof V Ramalingaswami became the second Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, at a very young age. He later became Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and transformed that organization signifi cantly. In recognition, the headquarters of ICMR are named as "V Ramalingaswami Bhavan" after him.

Never has anyone in India's medical scene received such acclaim for his work and vision, nationally or abroad than Prof Ramalingaswami. A legend, he held many highlevel positions. He was invited by the World Health Organization to chair its global advisory committee on medical research and was adviser to UNICEF, Population Council, Canadian International Aid Agency, as well as many other agencies. He was also Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Visiting Professor at several leading universities across the world, including such prestigious ones as Harvard, Oxford, etc.

Prof Ramalingaswami inspired and supported Dr Gullapalli N Rao's plan to move to India to set up an eye care institute that would not only provide world class clinical care to all but also pursue frontline research. He also encouraged Dr D Balasubramanian, then Director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad to head LVPEI's research wing.

As Director General of ICMR Prof Ramalingaswami took public health to the community by convincing the government that the problem of goitre particularly in Kangra valley of the Himalayas could simply be addressed through fortifi cation of common salt with iodine. In ophthalmology he championed the idea that night blindness could be simply addressed through mega doses of Vitamin A.

He was truly a Renaissance man a Sanskrit pandit and a Shakespearean scholar. At his stately home in New Delhi, he played host to the nation's most learned and powerful. When he relinquished his position on the board, he suggested that Dr MS Valiathan succeed him, another of LVPEI's eminent trustees.