The London-based Tej Kohli Foundation has announced a $14 million commitment to the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute in Hyderabad, India, in support of the institute's continued efforts to end "poverty blindness."
The pledge equals the amount provided by the foundation to the institute in 2015, which was disbursed over four years. A collaboration launched in 2015 between the foundation and the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, the Kohli institute addresses poverty blindness by providing free treatment to anyone who needs it. In 2019, it served more than fifty-six thousand outpatients, completed nearly twelve thousand surgical procedures, and cured more than fifty-seven hundred individuals of blindness or severe visual impairment, largely at no cost.
According to the World Health Organization, 90 percent of those affected by blindness and severe visual impairment live in the poorest countries in the world, including fourteen million in India. While approximately 75 percent of corneal disease is curable, the costs of corneal transplantation surgery using donor corneas and years of medicine needed to prevent rejection of the implanted cornea makes treatment inaccessible to many. The institute also provides eye care to those in hard-to-reach rural areas, home to roughly two-thirds of Indians, with a fully equipped mobile diagnostics van.
"It's an uncomfortable reality that millions of people worldwide are living with curable blindness that persists entirely because they cannot afford to access treatment," said Tej Kohli Foundation co-founder Wendy Kohli. "The impact of restoring a person's vision on that person's confidence, well-being, and economic prospects is substantial. Through the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute, we are able to make direct interventions into individual lives that help and transform entire families every single day."
(Photo credit: gettyimages/batke)