Silver Jubilee Celebration
An overview by PDG MJF Lion N.R.DAVE Founder & Managing Trustee

    His Excellency the Governor of Tamilnadu Sri Barnalaji, Lions International Director PMJF Lion K.G.Ramakrishna Murthy, Director of Medical Education Dr.P.Vijayalakshmi, Chairman & District Governor Lion P.Ramesh Babu, Director of Regional Institute of Ophthalmology Govt. Ophthalmic Hospital Prof. Dr.V.Velayutham, District Governors Lion Ranganathan & Lion Shanth Kumar, fellow Trustees, former Directors of RIO-GOH, Past District Governors, Vice District Governors, Lion Leaders and members of District 324-A1, A5 & A6, Doctors & Staff of RIO-GOH, Deans of Government Hospitals, Invitees, Ladies and Gentlemen & Members of the Press.
    It is the proud privilege of our Eye Bank to have the head of state, His Excellency Shri Barnalaji as the chief guest of the Silver Jubilee function. His Excellency is a Lion among men and he is the one who has conquered the hearts of "Sura" the gods thro his intense loved and compassion for human beings. His feeling for the Eye Donation is well known to all of us as he has already announced donation of his eyes to an Eye Bank. Respected Sir, you are indeed "Netra Sakha" of our Eye Bank. We are immensely grateful to you for your presence as the chief guest to bless us and the Eye Bank on this occasion.
    As founder of Lions Eye Bank my mind goes to the year 1981 when as the District Chairman of Eye Donation I with other Lion Leaders namely Late PDG lion J.D.Pannalaji and PDG Lion G.V.Raman had started the Lions Eye Bank. I recall how effortlessly and readily Dr.E.T.Selvam the Superintendent of GOH allotted the space in the Eye Hospital. The Inauguration of Lions Eye Bank on 19th Sept. 1981 by the then Health Minister Dr.H.V.Hande is still fresh in my memory. On this occation I had received blessings from Sanlaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam with "Sarvendriyanam Nayanam Pradhanam"- of all sensory organs the eye is the most important one and "Paropakarartham Idam Sariram"- this body is for doing good to others.

    Out of 14 pairs of Eye Donations in the first year I recall how I had got a call for Eye Donation from Lions Club of Central Madras at midnight when its charter member Dr. Shiva Rao passed away. The Eye Donation of this medical professional gave a boost to the Eye Donation movement. In the subsequent years two incidents of Eye Donations will remain ever green in my memory. A young business man Mr.Patel met with a fatal scooter accident in the afternoon. In the evening I had received a call that in the midst of intense grief Mrs. Patel was insisting of Eye Donation of her husband's Eyes. Immediately I arranged a lady Ophthalmologist of the hospital. Due to traffic jam the doctor reached the deceased house at 5.30 p.m. But then as per the Hindu custom the body was to be cremated before the sun set and hence taken to choolai cremation ground. The lady doctor was about to return empty handed when Mrs. Patel pleaded that the doctor should go to the cremation ground and remove the eyes of her deceased husband. The lady doctor went to the cremation ground, removed the eyes and two waiting patients were given back eye sight at the eye hospital. This eye donation from community as reported in the newspapers as "Gift from the Grave".
    The other incident was of a Lions family where within a span of few months the house lady who was a lioness lost her young son Babuji and then husband. Lioness Indirani Venkatraman was heart broken. But even in the midst of both the tragedies she remembered to donate the eyes of both the younger son and her husband after their deaths. The incident shows how a motivated woman and especially a lioness can propagate and support the Eye Donation activity.
With the passage of the years more and more eye donations came in. In the year 1990 I was overjoyed when Lions Clubs International foundation grant of $50,000 was received for purchase of state of art equipments. Now the eye bank was equipped with a 24 hours van with driver, specular microscope and other equipments. When the chief Minster Dr.M.Karunanidhi visited the hospital, in his presence, our eye bank was declared as model eye bank. In the year 1991-92 the Eye Donation procurement target was fixed as one pair of Eyes per day.
    I can not but recall how Padmabhushan Dr.Badrinath had invited me in the motivational meetings for Eye Donation held at Sankara Nethralaya. I cherish his guidance and expertise given to me in my endeavours.
    I recall the pride my joint working with the former Director and former Vice Chancellor of MGR Medical University Dr.K.Anand Kannan. The credit for building our eye bank medically to the present state goes to my twin brother Dr.K.Ananda kannan.
    The former Director Dr.Sundaram had helped by fixing Rs.10 per month as nominal rent for our Eye Bank thro' public works department. The best moment for the Eye Bank came in the year 1999 when Sri Arcot Veeraswamy, the Hon'ble health Minister acceded my request and issued a G.O. and allotted land in the Govt. Ophthalmic Hospital to construct Lions Cornea Block, I am deeply indebted to our beloved chief minister Dr.M.Karunanidhi and Hon'ble Minister for Health for this noble gesture. When there is a noble project there is no dearth of goodhearted people. The District Governor of 1999-2000 Lion L.K.S. Syed Ahamed came forward to construct the two floors of the building and with the support of District Lions completed the project in the month of May 2000. The Director Dr.V.Balasubramaniam liaisoned effectively with PWD department for building permission which requires special mention here. The Second floor was constructed in the year 2003-04 with the help of Mr.N.Radhakrishnan, Managing Director of M/s. Tarapore & Comapany, who subsidized the cost of construction. The new state of Art equipments were purchased thro the second grant of & 50,000 from Lions Clubs International Foundation.

    The Hospital Corneal Retrieval Program (HCRP) supported by the Eye Bank Association of India was initiated by D.M.E. Dr.P.Vijayalakshmi in the year 2003. Thanks to HCRP, through our Eye Donation co-ordinators, now we are able to procure two pairs eyes per day.
    All the former Directors and District Governors of our Lions districts have solidly supported the Eye Bank. Secretary Lion C.R. Narasimhan and Treasurer Lion G.V.Raman are meticulous in administration and financial matters. My colleague trustees are a source of inspiration for me and the eye donation activities. The founder and builder members have been the pillars of strength. District Governor Lion P.Ramesh Babu as Chairman & Dist. Governor Lion Ranganathan & Dist. Governor Lion Santhkumar as Vice Chairman are looking after the activities of the eye bank. Dr.V.Velayutham the present director is a very efficient planner and expert administrator. The Corneal Chief Dr.K.Vasantha is one of the best corneal surgeons of whom we are really proud. The Deans of Kilpauk General Hospital, Royapettah General Hospital, Govt. General Hospital and Stanley General Hospital are supporting the HCRP program.

The Address of His Excellency the Governor of Tamilnadu SHRI SURJIT SING BARNALA at The Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the CHENNAI LIONS EYE BANK TRUST & RIO-GOH RESEACH FOUNDATION at Government Ophthalmic Hospital, Chennai On 30.10.2006 at 11.00 a.m.

    But for the recurring grant from the department of Health & Family Welfare Govt. of India it would be difficult for eye Bank to function. I express my deep gratitude to the Govt. of India for supporting our Eye Bank. I also express immense happiness at the presence of International Director Lion K.G.Ramakrishna Murthy & D.M.E. Dr.P. Vijayalkshmi.
    Friends, Lions Eye Bank as a NGO has joined hands with a Govt. for the first time in the country. It is recognized by the Govt. of Tamilnadu, the Govt. of India and Lions Clubs International Both together have completed 25 years of journey.
    Still in the further journey we have many miles to go. It is only with the blessings of leaders like our respected and learned His Excellency the Governor of Tamilnadu we can march ahead for a bright future. On our behalf I assure you sir that we will work hard in bringing light to many more corneally blind people of our State. We will be true to the saying of Swami Vivekananda. "Uttistha, Jagrata, Prapya Varan Nibodhat". Arise, awake and Stop not-till the goal is reached.

    I am happy to associate myself with this function today. I congratulate Chennai Lions Clubs and Regional Institute of Ophthalmology Government Ophthalmic Hospital for their fruitful partnership of twenty five years of humanitarian service in the field of eye donation. I am told that more than 5,400 corneally blind people have been given the gift of sight at the Lions Eye Bank. It is a commendable task and it is also heartening to note that this Eye Bank is recognized by the Government of Tamilnadu, Government of India and Lions Club International. I am also informed that, this is the first time in the whole country that a State Government has joined hands with an NGO like Lions Club International, in Eye Donation and is successfully carrying out this humanitarian service for the past twenty five years.

    I am told that atleast 20,000 Eyes or 10,000 pairs of corneas per year are needed in Tamilnadu for giving the gift of sight to 20,000 corneally blind people. I understand that only 5,000 eyes are received as donations per year. This shows that the demand here is more, far higher than the supply of corneas. I am sure 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 eyes. It is one of the noblest deeds one can do. Eye donations are not taken from a living person but are removed only from the deceased. Any one of any age can pledge to donate eyes, even if the donor wears glasses or has cataract. His wish can be fulfilled by his kin after his demise. A pair of donated eyes gives sight to two blind persons. I have already pledged to donate my eyes to the Chennai Eye Bank. And I have wished to donate my eyes to two young persons who could see this beautiful world for a long time.
    Eyes are gift of nature to our body. We should take good care and visit eye specialist periodically. Usually we fail to see the importance of sight as long as our vision is perfect. It is only when our sight begins to fail that we realize the importance of the eyes. Its is necessary that cataract and other eye diseases are detected at an early stage. Hence, those who are gifted with a good eye sight should take vigilant care of them. We must remember that preventing a disease of any type is better and cheaper than cure.
    A large number of patients from Tamilnadu and other State like Bengal, Gujarat, Bihar and Nagaland have received corneal transplantations in this eye bank. The Government of India is giving an annual recurring grant. The Government of Tamilnadu had allotted a place for the construction of Lions Cornea Block in this hospital premises. I appreciate the Chennai Lions Clubs for constructing this block with state of- the- art facilities. The Lions have donated the block with its facilities with the day to day administration taken care of by the Lions Eye Bank and the medical personnel, the cost of medicine and patient care looked after by the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology.

    I understand that the eye bank is now procuring almost two pairs of eyes a day. It is indeed a praise worthy effort by you. I am confident that with more eye donations and 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 got 1000 pairs of eyes per year. I also note that the eye bank is planning to give excess corneas to other registered sister eye banks. This will really make Lions Eye Bank a Model Eye Bank in our country.
    I commend the perseverance of the founder Lion N.R.Dave, the dedication of the Director Dr.Velayadham, the support of the trustees, Lions Club and the Government of Tamilnadu for their guidance and support to the most worthy humanitarian gesture of providing eye sight. Lions Club is recognized worldwide for their service to the blind and visually impaired. As you know they are also involved in a variety of other activities to help the needy. I wish them success in all their endeavours.

Report of Silver Jubilee Celebrations
1981 - 2006, 25 Years of Journey
The Superintendent and Directors of RIO-GOH with whom PDG Lion N.R.Dave the Founder and Managing Trustee has Co-ordinated the Eye Donation Activities.

1981-1982 1981-1982 Dr .E.T. Selvam
1982-1984 Dr. S. Sathiavakesan
1984-1987 Dr.N.S.Sundaram
1987 Dr. M.Guhanandhan
1987-1988 Dr.C.S. Kalidasan
1988-1991 Dr. M. Guhanandhan
1991-1991 Dr.N.Saravanan
1991-1996 Dr.V.M.Loganathan
1996-1996 Dr.S.Ram Mohan & Dr.V. Bala Subramanian
1997-1999 Dr.K.Ananda kannan
2000 Dr.R.Nagarathinam
Nov.2000 Dr.S.Vedantham
2000 Dr.V.Rajaram
2001 Dr.M.Bala Subramanian
2001-2002 Dr.S.Selva Sundari
2002-2003 Dr.R.Jeayalakshmi
2003-2003 Dr.K.Mohan Raj
2003-2005 Dr.R.Parimaladevi
2005-2006 Dr.T.Selvakumari
2005-2006 Dr.Mohan Raj
2006 Dr.V.Velayutham