Project Drishti: Restoring sight to the blind
Project Drishti, a nationwide corneal grafting drive to bring light into the lives of the visually challenged from the underprivileged segment of society, has already restored sight to over 5,000 Indians.
PROJECT DRISHTI, a nationwide corneal grafting drive to bring light into the lives of the visually challenged from the underprivileged segment of society, has restored sight to over 5,000 people. A unique and joint initiative of Reliance
Industries Limited (RIL) and the National Association of the Blind (NAB), Project Drishti has undertaken 5,000 kerotoplasty surgeries in less than four years since it was started - all free of cost. It is now the largest corneal grafting surgery project enabled by a single corporate entity in India. Project Drishti, under the leadership of Nita Ambani, president, Dhirubhai Ambani Foundation, is working zealously to bring light into the lives of millions who have so far lived in darkness. The objective of the project is to give sight to the sightless from the underprivileged segment of the society at no cost to them. Nita says, “We are committed in our endeavour to bring light into the lives of the visually challenged brethren.”
She added, “In more ways than one, we can make this a century with better vision than ever. We need to see life a little differently even after we have passed on. Life would undergo a change of appearance if you donate your eyes because beauty also lies in the eye of the giver.”
The challenges posed by corneal grafting surgeries are many, more so for the underprivileged segment of the society. Industry estimates indicate that annually about 13,000 to 15,000 individuals donate eye balls, which means around 30,000 eye balls are donated. Of this, only 35 – 40 per cent is fit for corneal-grafting purposes, i.e., 12,000 to 13,000 eyeballs are available for corneal grafting. Further, the success rate of corneal graft surgery is 70 to 80 per cent, which brings down the actual number available to around 10,000 eyeballs. The acute scarcity of good corneas results in a long waiting list for people whose world
is black, and, it is an assured stark black if the visually impaired person is from the underprivileged segment.
In its endeavour to ensure that the visually impaired from the most under-privileged segment of the society reaps benefit from this initiative, Project Drishti, in association with the National Association for the Blind (NAB), extends support through specialized eye-hospitals spread across India. NAB is a non-profit institution which has been serving the blind in India
for over five decades. The Drishti project has conducted corneal grafting surgeries in over 16 cities India and efforts are on to take the initiative to far-flung mofussil areas of the country. In addition to its corneal grafting drive, Project Drishti has actively participated in several blindness prevention activities and also in creating awareness about the compelling need for eye donation.
Reliance Industries Limited is the first and only private sector company from India to feature in the Fortune Global 500 list of ‘World’s Largest Corporations’ and ranks amongst the world’s top 200 companies in terms of profit. RIL is amongst the 25 fastest climbers ranked by Fortune. RIL also features in the Forbes Global list of the world’s 400 best big companies and in FT Global 500 list of the world’s largest companies.