Grey Mist Lifting

A Weekly Blog About Lives Changed Through Eye Care

Pat Ferguson, former President and CEO

Visionary of eye care visits Operation Eyesight


Dr. G.N. Rao is one of the world’s most influential figures in the field of global blindness. As the former president of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, he led a world-wide coalition of eye care organizations focused on eliminating the major causes of avoidable blindness. The organization he built, the world-class LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVP), is Operation Eyesight’s key strategic partner. On April 28, Dr. Rao spoke at Operation Eyesight headquarters in Calgary. Here are some of his comments.

About investing in eye care

Dr. G.N. Rao. Photo courtesy of the LV Prasad Eye Institute.

Dr. G.N. Rao. Photo courtesy of the LV Prasad Eye Institute.

There is no other health care intervention that is more cost effective than investing in eye care. Eighty per cent of avoidable blindness could be wiped out today if we had the financial and human resources. Even in the so-called most expensive developing countries, a cataract operation only costs about $100. In a country like India, it’s about $25 or $30. A pair of glasses – isn’t it shameful that in the civilized world we still have so many blind people because they don’t have a pair of glasses which you can get for $2? Where else can you have that kind of impact?

Also, in many cases you don’t need any kind of behaviour change to improve vision. To tackle HIV-AIDS for example, you need significant attitudinal and behavioural changes, which presents a major challenge. With eye care, it’s usually a onetime intervention.

About LV Prasad’s growth and impact

LVP is already impacting a lot of the global population directly and indirectly. We provide direct care to an entire state – that’s 80 million people. And we are providing direct care at the tertiary level to all of India. Through our alumni who are just about in every developing country of the world now, we are indirectly touching around two to three billion people. Our goal by 2020 is that through our network and through our alumni network, we will impact the eye health of half the world’s population.

About Operation Eyesight

Operation Eyesight is one of a very few eye health INGOs that is emphasizing quality in every sense of that word. You insisted on the implementation of quality, and that made the difference. Operation Eyesight is not just about eye health, it’s about building communities. You change lives.

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