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Oxford Congress Honour for Dr Gullapalli N Rao

     -  Dr Gullapalli N Rao delivered the Doyne lecture at the 2023 Oxford Ophthalmological Congress at Oxford, UK.
     -  Dr. Rao is the first ever ophthalmologist working in India to deliver this lecture in its 106-year history.
     -  Title of his lecture - A Cornea Care System: Evolution

Dr Gullapalli N Rao, Founder - Chair of the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) delivered the prestigious Doyne Lecture at the Oxford Ophthalmology congress. Named in the memory of Prof. Robert Doyne in 1917, this is the oldest eponymous lecture in ophthalmology. Prof. Robert Doyne is the Founder of the Oxford Eye Hospital, the first ever academic eye department, and he was the first Reader of Ophthalmology at Oxford. Dr. Rao is the first ophthalmologist ever working in India to deliver this lecture in its 106-year history.

Dr Rao gave the Doyne Lecture as part of the 106th Oxford Ophthalmological Congress. The Oxford Ophthalmological Congress is an annual meeting of UK-based and international ophthalmologists at Oxford. This year, the Congress was held at Oxford, UK. Established in 1909 by Robert Doyne, the Congress is the most long-standing event for ophthalmologists in the United Kingdom. The prestigious Doyne lecture was inaugurated in 1917, a year after Robert Doyne’s death. 

'It was a great pleasure to invite Dr Gullapalli N Rao to deliver the 106th Doyne Lecture,' said Mr Timothy Dabbs, the Master of the 106th Oxford Ophthalmological Congress. 'His reputation as a hugely successful ophthalmologist, visionary leader and communicator is richly deserved. His lecture entitled ‘A Cornea Care System: Evolution’ was superbly delivered, fascinating and inspirational.' 

'The rousing ovation he received was in no small part a measure of the esteem in which he is held. His Doyne lecture truly was the highlight of our proceedings.'

India has the highest burden of corneal blindness in the world. It is estimated that India has a disease burden of 1.3 million people with bilateral corneal blindness. Once blindness occurs with an opacity of the cornea, the only way to restore sight is by corneal transplantation. For the Doyne Lecture, Dr. Rao spoke about how the L V Prasad Eye Institute created and developed their cornea care unit to be the biggest such unit in the world. The eye bank that supports this unit is the biggest in the Asia Pacific region and the Hyderabad campus is the biggest corneal service in the world performing the highest number of corneal transplants. 

The Cornea service at LVPEI began in 1987. The LVPEI Eye Bank network started in 1989 with the Ramayamma International Eye Bank in Hyderabad. Apart from being the biggest eye bank network in Asia, it is the largest provider of sight-restoring donor corneas in India. Dr Rao described the value of such facilities in a low-income context. He also outlined the education and training programmes that undergird the cornea programme. Today, the cornea service at LVPEI has evolved into an Institute of Excellence and a Global Resource Centre named the Shantilal Shanghvi Cornea Institute.

Click here to see a list of past Doyne lectures:

About Dr Gullapalli N Rao: Dr. Rao is the past President of Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis, the body 80 of the most eminent academic ophthalmologists in the world. He has over 300 peer reviewed research publications; held editorial board positions in several journals; has been a visiting Professor in many universities in the world; and invited speaker at international meetings including many eponymous lectures. He was also the former Chair and CEO of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). In this position, he played a key role in the global programme for the elimination of avoidable blindness, VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, a joint programme with the World Health Organization (WHO). 

About LVPEI: Established in 1987, L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Prevention of Blindness, is a comprehensive eye health facility. It has served over 36.89 million (3 crores 68 lakh people), with more than 50% entirely free of cost, irrespective of the complexity of care needed. LVPEI also works in active collaboration with many global and national institutes. LVPEI clinicians and scientists work at the cutting edge of eye research. Their work ranges from investigating the genetic and molecular basis of eye diseases to arriving at creative modes of managing vision-threatening conditions. They are also involved in several clinical trials that evaluate the safety and efficacy of novel drugs and devices. To date, over 5000 publications have been published by the Institute. For the past two consecutive years, several researchers from LVPEI have been ranked among the top 2% of global eye researchers by the Sanford University study. The research work at LVPEI is funded through competitive grants and philanthropic donations.