After a decade of delay, J&K will finally get its own Regional Institute of Ophthalmology (RIO) that will provide state-of-the-art eye care facilities for the region.
A proposal to set up the RIO at Kashmir Nursing Home at Gupkar here has been approved by the state government. The proposal, an official in Health and Medical Education Department said, had been approved last month by health and medical education department, department of finance and planning and is slated to be put up before the State Administrative Council (SAC).
Confirming the development, Principal Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar Prof Parvaiz A Shah said that the hospital building at Gupkar will be renovated and refurbished to suit the requirements for the RIO.
“We will be shifting the ophtho services in a phased manner to the new location afterwards while trauma services will continue to operate from the SMHS Hospital,” he said.
He said that the decision to continue operating eye trauma facilities from the SMHS Hospital had been taken in view of having multi-disciplinary trauma facilities at the hospital to cater to usual cases of multiple-site injuries accompanying eye injuries.
Prof Shah said that staff requirement for the RIO had also been projected and SAC was expected to clear it soon.
The recently retired principal of GMC Srinagar Prof Kaiser Ahmed Koul said that GMC had strived hard to get the proposal sanctioned.
“It was a long pending demand and the initial proposal had been submitted a decade back,” he said and added the RIO will have all facilities required to treat eye diseases and help in control of blindness.
The 100-bedded Institute sponsored under the GoI’s National Program for Control of Blindness (NPCB) was allocated to the GMC Srinagar in 2010 and was, at that time, the 20th such institute in India. After gathering dust for about seven years, the state government had directed GMC Srinagar to resubmit the proposal in 2017.
The central assistance paves way for eight super-specialties in Ophthalmology and would include departments of oculoplasty, neuro-ophthalmology, pediatric ophthalmology, ocular pathology and community ophthalmology.
Currently, the SMHS Hospital has availability of human resource for just three super-specialties—retina, glaucoma and cornea—an official said.
The institute, the official said, will also provide facilities for training of manpower and research activities in the field of ophthalmology. Kashmir has a high incidence of eye trauma and due to high occurrence of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, glaucoma and other eye ailments are also very common.