Our work with

Drashti Netralaya

Working for the Cause:

Working towards

under the leadership of Dr. Mehul Shah and Dr. Shreya Shah; in Dahod

About

Drashti Netralaya is a charitable organization that was established by two dedicated eye care professionals with a noble mission: to eradicate avoidable and treatable blindness in the economically disadvantaged rural tribal area of Dahod, situated on the eastern border of Gujarat, India. For the past two decades, they have been steadfastly working towards this goal.

Their approach is aligned with the government’s efforts, and they collaborate closely with district governance, sharing common objectives and strategies aimed at eliminating avoidable blindness. Financial, technical, and human resources support is provided by both the Gujarat State government and the National Government.

Additionally, Drashti Netralaya receives invaluable assistance from numerous individuals, national NGOs, and international NGOs who generously contribute as donors to support their vital work.

About 0 000+
surgeries are performed annually.
0 %+
of their efforts have been dedicated to providing free services to impoverished tribal communities, encompassing all eye surgeries, since 1991

Work

Tertiary Eye Care Center

Drashti Netralaya operates as a Tertiary Eye Care Center with a steadfast commitment to providing a uniform standard of care to all individuals, regardless of their economic status. The hospital’s comprehensive services address both preventive and curative aspects of various eye conditions, encompassing specialized departments such as the Cataract department, Retina and Vitreous department, Pediatric Ophthalmology department, Strabismus department, Ocular Trauma Care Center, Oculoplasty department, Cornea department, Ocular Oncology department, Optometry services, and Contact Lens department, among others.

In addition to their primary eye care services, they also run a rehabilitation center tailored to serve individuals who are visually impaired or have low vision. Drashti Netralaya’s commitment to delivering high-quality eye care to all, regardless of their socioeconomic background, is at the core of their mission.

Rural Eye Health Care

Drashti Netralaya has successfully raised awareness about eye care among illiterate communities through intensive outreach efforts. These efforts include free eye check-up camps, fully equipped mobile ophthalmic units for remote areas, school children’s eye screening programs, and door-to-door patient outreach. As a result, the communities they serve are now well-informed about eye care problems and available treatments.

Education

Drashti Netralaya offers a range of educational programs to train healthcare professionals and expand their capacity to serve more patients. These programs include DNB Ophthalmology, DO, postgraduate fellowships, government doctor training, optometry, and ophthalmic technician and nursing schools.

Technical Advancement

Despite being located in a rural, remote area, Drashti Netralaya has embraced advanced technology, creating a paperless hospital equipped with Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Hospital Management Information Systems (HMIS). Additionally, they operate a telemedicine center to deliver the highest quality and most advanced treatment to the local population.

Research

Drashti Netralaya conducts vital research, encompassing both clinical and operational studies, to prevent blindness. Their research findings are shared at national and international levels through presentations and publications, contributing to global efforts in blindness prevention.

History

Dr. Mehul Shah and Dr. Shreya Shah, both ophthalmologists, embarked on a mission driven by compassion and a dedication to serving the less fortunate. Hailing from Dahod, one of India’s largest tribal regions, they felt a strong calling to initiate work similar to Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, in their hometown and neighboring villages. This journey began nearly three decades ago, in May 1991.

Together, they founded Drashti Netralaya, a clinic that started with minimal funds from their parents and a bank loan to purchase basic instruments back in March 1992. They initially operated as private practitioners, but their true goal was to provide free eye care to those in need. Saturdays were designated as “free days,” offering services at no cost. As word spread about their mission, Saturdays transformed into “Ophthalmic Mission Activity,” and the demand for free services grew. Eventually, they extended their charitable work to Fridays as well by the end of the first year.

This dedicated work continued for six years, and during this time, they developed the basic infrastructure necessary to perform 5 to 6 cataract surgeries per day, including intraocular lens implantations using a phacoemulsification machine.

As their mission gained recognition and support from the community, they realized the need to formalize their activities. On June 3, 1999, Ophthalmic Mission Trust was officially registered with the Gujarat Government. Dr. Mehul Shah and Dr. Shreya Shah balanced their roles as private practitioners from Mondays to Thursdays and as servants of Ophthalmic Mission Trust on Fridays and Saturdays for two years. Surprisingly, they found that 60% of their work was dedicated to the charitable trust on just 33% of the weekdays (Fridays and Saturdays).

In a significant decision on April 1, 2001, they transformed their private hospital into a nonprofit charitable organization. They donated their personal income and thriving practice to the trust, becoming dedicated servants of Ophthalmic Mission Trust.

For two decades, Drashti Netralaya has remained committed to its founding goal: eliminating avoidable and treatable blindness in the economically disadvantaged rural tribal area of Dahod, located on the eastern border of Gujarat, India. This remarkable journey is a testament to their unwavering dedication to serving those in need.

Impact of Project Supported by Joy of Helping

“Joy of Helping,” in response to the Covid-19 crisis, was devoted to providing financial assistance to Drashti Netralaya for facilitating donations from the USA. Drashti Netralaya had an impressive track record of delivering high-quality eye care on a large scale while prudently managing its finances transparently. However, in those uncertain times, Drashti Netralaya required special one-time financial support to sustain its operations. This assistance was crucial to help the hospital navigate through the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring it remained a viable entity and could continue its mission of eliminating blindness among the underprivileged.

Upon the resolution of the Covid-19 crisis, Joy of Helping aimed to extend its support by sponsoring free eye camps. Additionally, the organization planned to cover the expenses of selected pediatric patients’ operations at the hospital, effectively eliminating childhood blindness and providing free-of-charge Squint eye operations. This commitment reflected the enduring dedication of Joy of Helping to make a meaningful impact on eye health, even beyond the immediate challenges presented by the crisis.

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