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Google Doodle honours Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy who dedicated his life to eliminate blindness


New Delhi, Oct 1: Today's Google Doodle honours the 100th birth anniversary of Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, an ophthalmologist who dedicated his life to eliminating blindness. Dr. Venkataswamy, who was known as Dr. V to his friends and admirers throughout the world, was born on October 1, 1918 and died on 7 July, 2006.

Google Doodle honours Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy

He is best known for developing an innovative high quality, high volume, low-cost service delivery model that has restored sight to millions of people. Venkataswamy gave millions of people a new life eliminating needless blindness.

He was a legend among ophthalmologists and a pioneer in conducting mass free eye camps since the early 1970s.

Dr. V. was born in 1918 to a farming family in a small village in South India. He received his medical degree from the Stanley Medical College in Chennai and joined the Indian Army Medical Corps to practice obstetrics. It was about this time that tragedy visited Dr. V. in the form of rheumatoid arthritis, a degenerative disease that attacked his hands. Although unable to practice obstetrics, Dr. V. did not give up. He began studying ophthalmology and had instruments specially designed for his arthritic hands - each one custom-made to fill a specific need. These instruments enabled him to perform as many as 100 cataract surgeries a day. He quickly became the most admired cataract surgeon in India.

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He is the founder and former chairman of Aravind Eye Hospitals, the largest provider of eye care in the world.

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Dr. V pioneered mobile eye camps with the government and later implemented this practice at Aravind. Teams of doctors and nurses from Aravind regularly visit rural villages where they conduct 'eye camps' that screen patients for vision impairments. Those requiring glasses receive them on site. Patients requiring surgery are bused back to an Aravind hospital, where they receive surgery, room and board, return transport and a follow up visit at no charge. Each year Aravind hosts over 2,100 camps, averaging 50 camps every week in over 600 locations with 500 community partners.

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Today, the Aravind Eye Care System encompasses a growing network of eye care facilities which include seven tertiary centres, six secondary hospitals, six outpatient eye examination centres and seventy primary eye examination facilities.

Venkataswamy was conferred Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1973.

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