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A Passage to India

Recently a group of 10 Flaum Eye Institute faculty, led by Department Chairman, David DiLoreto, MD, PhD, traveled to Hyderabad, India, to Visit the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) one of the largest eye care centers in the world and a model for global health care. LVPEI has long standing connections to Rochester. It was founded by Gullapalli “LVPEI SignNag” Rao, who completed a corneal fellowship under FEI’s James Aquavella, MD, and served on the Department of Ophthalmology faculty before returning to India.

While there the FEI team toured LVPEI’s main clinical and research facility, as well as satellite clinics that reach throughout Indian state of Telangana and beyond. With more than 200 eye care centers in India, it is the largest network of its kind in the world.

The FEI team included:

David DiLoreto, MD, PhD; Vikas KhSome of the teametan, MBBS;Vamsi Gullapalli, MD, PhD; Alex Levin, MD, MHSc;
Susana Marcos, PhD; Juliette McGregor, PhD; Rajeev Ramchandran, MD; Ruchira Singh, PhD; Zoe Williams, MD; Rachel Wozniak, MD, PhD

“LVPEI has considerable knowledge in clinical ophthalmology and population health,” DiLoreto said. “They treat 1.5 million patients a year with 60% of them receiving care for free. They truly live their motto, so that all may see, through their commitment to patient care.”

DiLoreto explained that the trip was the culmination of earlier discussions with LLVPEI Main CampusVPEI Chair Prashant Garg, MBBS, who had earlier visited Rochester to explore possible collaborations between the two institutions. They also invited DiLoreto, Director of FEI’s pediatric ophthalmology and ocular genetics services Alex Levin, MD, and FEI research scientist Ruchira Singh, PhD, to give lectures during LVPEI’s 15th annual Champalimaud Symposium.

Through a productive week of discussions, tours, and social activities, commitments and friendships were cultivated between FEI and LVPEI personnel to establish working relationships that will provide FEI access to educational and clinical opportunities and deliver to LVPEI access to FEI basic science research knowledge and techniques currently not available to them in India.Touring the city Some of these collaborations include:

  • Establishing a global ophthalmology allow an FEI trainee or faculty member the opportunity to participate in international ophthalmology through LVPEI’s network
  • Providing LVPEI access to FEI’s retinal and stem cell transplantation programs and using Singh’s iPSC “retina in a dish model” to study therapeutic targets for treating retinal disease
  • Re-invigoration a residency rotation where FEI senior residents can spend a month in Hyderabad studying international ophthalmology or perfecting their cataract surgery techniques
  • Collaborations between the FEI professor and Center for Visual Science Director, Susana Marcos, PhD, in the areas of myopia, lens changes and IOL positioning after cataract surgery
  • Establishing clinical genetics and genetic counseling programs in Hyderabad

FEI committed to yearly visits to India to nurture these collaborations and form new ones while Garg vowed to continue LVPEI’s visits to Rochester when his faculty and trainees come to America to attend clinical and vision research meetings.

“We have many overlapping clinical and research missions where we can help each other,” DiLoreto said. “We feel that the synergies between our two institutions should yield productive outcomes for decades to come.”

Stephen Kofron | 2/24/2023

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