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Sankara Nethralaya
Sankara Nethralaya


In a developing country like India, the ophthalmologist-patient ratio is at a dismal 1:10,000. Add to this, 70 % of the population in India continues to live in rural areas and 70% of the eye care professionals live in urban areas; thus eye care delivery to the doorstep of the rural areas remains a challenge to the medical fraternity. Teleophthalmology, therefore, holds great potential to improve the quality, access, and affordability in health care, for patients, it can reduce the need for travel and provide the access to a super-specialist at their doorstep.


Teleophthalmology holds a great potential to improve the quality, access, and affordability in health care. For patients, it can reduce the need for travel and provide the access to a super-specialist. Ophthalmology lends itself easily to telemedicine as it is a largely image based diagnosis. The rapid progress achieved in the field of Telecommunications renders Teleophthalmology easily feasible.

Comprehensive eye examination in rural areas
Training school teachers for vision screening programs
Diabetic Retinopathy screening camps, where diabetic patients undergo intensive screening and further treatment laser photocoagulation or surgery is completely free of cost for the patient at the base hospital.
Free surgery, post operative care, boarding and spectacles for cases that require surgery at the base hospital.


Sankara Nethralaya is the pioneer in mobile tele-ophthalmology practice in rural India. The project was inaugurated by the former President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, in 2003. At present our teleophthalmology services covers districts in Karnataka, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra


Taking medical services to the doorstep of the underprivileged in rural India, a fully equipped van with all medical and telemedicine facilities visits the rural areas where patients are screened thoroughly by a team of optometrists for various eye disorders, including cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. A glass dispensing unit ensures that those in need of spectacles are provided one at the campsite at a very nominal cost. Based on their diagnosis, the patients are brought to Sankara Nethralaya for further treatment, which is provided free of cost.

Combining medical expertise and technology, mobile teleophthalmology units improve the quality, access, and affordability in health care for rural indigent patients. Through the VSAT technology provided by the Indian Space Research Organisation, slit lamp, fundus images and Electronic Medical Records of the patient are transferred from the mobile unit to the central hub for consultation with a specialist at Sankara Nethralaya.

Did you know?
One person in the world goes blind, every five seconds.
A child goes blind every minute.
There are 45 million people who are blind in the world.
There are 135 million more with significant loss of vision.
80% of blindness is avoidable.