India’s Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital (SCEH) and the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), have inaugurated a dedicated centre for their ongoing initiative, Project Prakash, an Indo-US collaboration since 2005.

This collaboration aims to provide curably blind children in India with sight through cataract removal surgeries and interocular lens implantations while conducting fundamental scientific research on brain development and vision.

The new centre will provide a space for advancing research and implementing community screening programmes.

Over the last 18 years, Project Prakash has screened 62,000 children, provided surgery to over 800 children, and offered education and vocational rehabilitation to 30 children with bilateral congenital cataracts.

Project Prakash Indian principal investigator Dr Suma Ganesh said: “Through Project Prakash, we are giving children the ability to lead a relatively normal life.

“Those who were earlier dependent on others and were studying in blind schools or refusing to socialise are now venturing out – their functional vision resorted to some extent – opening themselves up to avenues of education, social interaction, and livelihood.

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“In fact, looking at the success rates, surgeons are now more willing to treat older children.

“Providing children this opportunity while also delving into why these eye ailments occur in the first place is the essence of Project Prakash.”