On the occasion the SILVER JUBILEE of CHENNAI LIONS EYE BANM TRUST & RIO-GOH RESEARCH FOUNDATION, congratulations to the CHENNAI LIONS CLUBS and Regional Institute of Ophthalmology Government Ophthalmic Hospital for their useful and fruitful partnership of 25 years of humanitarian service in the field of Eye Donation. In the last 25 years, through collection of 8906 Eyes more than 5400 corneally blind people have been given the gift of sight at the Lions Eye Bank, which is to be commended. It is heartening to note that this Eye Bank is recognized by the government of Tamilnadu, the government of India and Lions Clubs International. In the whole Country, in Eye Donation, it is first time that a state government has joined hands with NGO like Lions Clubs International and successfully carried out this activity for more than twenty five years.
    In India 1.2% of the population is suffering from various eye ailments. Whereas in Tamilnadu 0.75% of the population is suffering from various eye ailments. Of this 25% of Patients suffer from Corneal diseases. More than One Lakh patients in Tamilnadu alone need treatment for corneal diseases. Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, which is 187 years old premier Eye institution in our country, has received 80591d Eye patients form 1st January 2006. Out of them, Corneal problems were found in 4800 patients. This is 5% of the out patient population. Amongst them 345 patients required corneal transplant operation, which is 0.4% of the out patient population. Applying this statistic for Tamilnadu at least 20,000 eyes or 10,000 pairs of healthy corneas per year are needed for giving gift of sight to 20,000 corneally blind people. The total no.of Eye Donations received in Tamilnadu is 5000 Eyes only per year. This shows that demand is far higher than the supply of corneas in Tamilnadu. With extra efforts and more motivation amongst public this Eye Bank and other Eye Banks will be able to procure more Corneas to enable the corneally blind regain their eyesight.

    The First Eye Transplant operation was done in the year 1948 by Dr.R.E.S Muthaiya, the then Superintendent of Government Ophthalmic Hospital, who established the Eye Bank. But subsequently the Eye Bank remained empty due to lack of motivation for Eye donation amongst the community. In the year 1981 Lion N.R.Dave, the District chairman of District 324-A4 Lions Clubs International took up the challenge of propagating and procuring Eye Donations form the Lions Community and public and started the Lions Eye Bank Trust. He approached Dr.E.T.Selvam the then superintendent of government of ophthalmic hospital who readily gave a place in the Hospital to start the Lions Eye Bank. In the first year 28 Eyes were procured thro motivation and propagation. At this point, the dedicated work of Lion N.R.Dave is to be appreciated for attending personally Eye Donation calls any time during day or night and take doctors from the hospital in his car to the place of the deceased. With more number of Eye Donation coming, the Lions Eye Bank procured state of art equipments thro' grant of $50,000 from Lions Clubs International Foundation. In the year 1990 this Eye Bank was made a Model Eye Bank in the presence of Chief Minister of Tamilnadu Dr.M.Karunanidhi.
    Not only patients from Tamilnadu but also from other states like Bengal, Gujarat, Bihar and Nagaland got Corneal transplantations done at the Eye Bank. The Government of India also is giving annual recurring grant for running the Eye Bank. In the Year 1999 Lion N.R.Dave approached government of Tamilnadu for land to construct "Lions Cornea Block". Through a G.O. the government allotted a place in the hospital to build "Lions Cornea Block". The Chennai Lions are to be appreciated for constructing three floors of 7500 sq.ft. consisting of operation theaters, Male & Female wards, Instrument rooms, Seminar Hall, Patient Examination rooms and office. The Building and Equipments worth Rupees One Crore has been donated by the Lions and dedicated to the people of Chennai. The procurement of eyes and day-to-day administration is taken care by the Lions Eye Bank. The Medical personal, the cost of Medicine and patient care is being looked after by the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology.

    It is noted that till 2003, less than 250 pairs of eyes were procured as Eye donation. But after the "Hospital Corneal Retrieval Program" initiated by the Director of Medical Education Dr.Vijayalakshmi and supported by the Eye Bank Association of India, Eye Donation Co-ordinators were appointed at Government Kilpauk Hospital, Government Royapettah Hospital, Government Stanley Hospital and Government General Hospital to get Eye Donations from the patients who die at the hospital. This program brought a dramatic jump in the procurement of Eyes. In the year 2004, 295 pairs, in 2005, 494 pairs and in 2006, 561 pairs of Eyes have been procured. From first July 2006, the Eye Bank now is procuring almost two pairs of Eyes, which is an excellent and praise worthy effort. With more Eye Donation co-ordinators working at various hospitals, the Eye Bank will be able to procure more than three pairs of Eyes per day, so as to get 1000 pairs of Eyes per year. It is to be noted that the Eye Bank is planning to give excess corneas to other sister-registered Eye Banks. This will really make the Lions Eye Bank as model Eye Bank in our country.
    The Corneal Transplantations are done free of cost for the patients, which is to be commended. Visit the 'Lions Cornea Block' and have the pleasure of meeting the patients who have regained Eye Sight. It will be one the most satisfying moments of life when you see the sense of satisfaction and gratitude on the faces of the recipients. You have great pleasure in seeing the Silver Jubilee Plaque at the Cornea Block, inaugurated by His Excellency the governor of Tamilnadu Shri Surjit Singh Barnala.
    The perseverance of the founder Lion N.R.Dave, the dedication of the Director Dr. Velayudham and other former Directors, the support of the Trustees, the governors of Lions clubs, founder and Builder members of the Trust, the Director of Medical Education and the Government of Tamilnadu for their guidance and support to the most worthy Humanitarian project of Gift of Eye sight is to be hailed and commended.

PDG Lion N.R. Dave
Founder & Managing Trustee

Lion C.R. Narasimhan