Founder and chairman of LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) Dr Gullapalli N. Rao has been elected as the president of Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (AOI).
On being elected president of the Academia, Dr Rao succeeds Prof Paul Lichter, Director Emeritus of Kellogg Eye Institute at the University of Michigan in the US and Prof Peter Watson of Cambridge University in UK. Earlier, Dr Rao was elected to the chair of AOI in 1998 and became the second Indian ever to receive this honour after his teacher, Prof L P Agarwal, former director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
An entrepreneur of solutions for eye health, Dr Rao is widely respected for the creation of sustainable, high quality, comprehensive eye care delivery and as the father of the vision centre model which is transforming vision care across India, and inspiring development worldwide.
The AOI is a 73 member body of the most eminent academicians in ophthalmology in the world, each holding a chair of this prestigious body. The 73 chairs represent professors from many top most universities of the world and Dr Rao is the first ever non-university based academician and the first one from outside US, Europe and Japan to be elected president of this body.
The announcement was made during the World Ophthalmology Congress in Tokyo, Japan, during 2-6 April, 2014. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Gullapalli N Rao said, “This is among the highest honours conferred in the field of ophthalmology and is a huge responsibility. I am extremely privileged to have been given this opportunity, and grateful to everyone especially in LVPEI for helping me in this journey, without which this wouldn’t have been possible.”
Dr Rao was earlier Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chief Executive Officer of International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in which position he played a critical role in initiating and advancing the “Global VISION 2020: The Right to Sight program” the prevention of blindness program globally in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO). He was also the recipient of numerous awards from many international organizations and delivered many named lectures in international conferences and universities around the world. He published nearly 300 peer reviewed scientific papers and held editorial positions in many international journals. He is also a member of the jury of the prestigious “Annual €1.0 million Champalimaud Award for Vision” and on the boards of many national and international organizations worldwide.