The Regional Institute of Ophthalmology and Government Ophthalmic Hospital in Chennai established in 1819 is of great historic importance to the Medical fraternity of India. The Regional Institute of Ophthalmology happens to the oldest Eye Hospital in South Asia and one of the oldest in the world and has been serving humanity with its expertise on eye care.
Eminent scholars, doctors and professionals related to the medical fraternity have been associated with the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology since its inception stage and continue to do so with time.
The existence of the institute since the 1800s bears testimony to the fact that it has been providing world class treatment to its patients and has also enabled researchers in discovering finer nuances of eye care art.
With a history that is unparalleled, Institute of Ophthalmology has been built on the land acquired by Andrews Cogan, Chief of the East India Company from the Emperor of Vijaynagar kingdom.
Earlier known as ‘Madras Eye Infirmary’, the institute was founded by Dr R Richardson. But it was Lt. Col R H. Elliot’s governance that the institute grew manifold both in terms of its services and clinical advancement.
The institute braved the turbulent times of the freedom struggle and rendered selfless services to the needy. Undivided India was awakening to newer learning and discoveries. One such Indian was Diwan Bahadur K Koman Nayar, who worked in the capacity of the Superintendant and was also a proficient eye surgeon. It was under him that the country was first introduced to a Diploma Course in Ophthalmology in 1942.
Dr.K Vasantha, the present director speaks about the Institute:
Presently located at Egmore, the Government ophthalmic hospital was given the regional institute status in the year 1987. And hence it is called RIO and GOH (Regional Ins and govt. eye hospital).
Modern treatments like Phaco emulsification, lasers for diabetic retinopathy, treatment of age related macular degeneration, treatment of dacryocystitis without scar and keratoplasties (corneal transplants) are done absolutely free of cost to the poor patients.
We train 30 postgraduates every year-12 M.S and 18 Diploma candidates. We also train ophthalmologists from all over India in Small Incision Cataract Surgery, Phacoemulsification, Corneal Transplant, retinal surgeries and Oculo Plastic Surgeries. These ophthalmologists are selected by the National Blindness Control Department New Delhi and sent to us.
Our postgraduates win in most of the quiz programs organized by various fora which says a lot about our training.
In future we would like to get a Laser machine for treating myopia
About the present Director: Dr. K. Vasantha
Dr K Vasantha M.S., F.R.C.S., has passed M.S. from The Regional Institute of Ophthalmology and Government Ophthalmic Hospital in 1981. Specialist in cornea and anterior segment surgeries, she did M.B.B.S. from Tanjore Medical College. She is a gold medalist in anatomy, surgery and was awarded the best lady outgoing student. She was also awarded of Dr. Sitalakshmi award and Dr. Joseph Gnanadickam award.