London, 5th July 2016: The Tej Kohli Cornea Institute [TKCI] in partnership with world-renowned LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) is proud to announce the launch of the TKCI Srujana Innovation Award. The award encourages ideas that will lead to the next big breakthrough in treatment of corneal blindness. It launches in conjunction with the fourth annual ‘Engineering The Eye Workshop’ at which LVPEI clinicians and MIT engineers meet every July in Hyderabad, India.
The award is aimed at engineering and IT graduates, but is also open to corneal specialists across India. They are asked to present innovative cross disciplinary solutions that will push an exponential leap in the treatment of corneal blindness. Entry opened this week and short concept proposals must be submitted by 17.30hrs IST on Friday the 8th of July.
A team of experts will judge the ideas on feasibility, innovation, and scale. The best entrants will then be invited to present their proposal to judges on Saturday the 9th of July. The proposals will be filtered down to a short list who will be invited to submit a full proposal. The winner will receive the backing of the TKCI, as well as up to Rs. 2,000,000 depending on the scope of work, and will be based at the TKCI/LVPEI in Hyderabad, India.
Tej Kohli, Chairman of Kohli Ventures and Founder of the Tej Kohli Foundation said, “We are dedicated to eradicating corneal blindness by 2030, and to do so requires innovative thinking from many different disciplines. We are excited to see what ideas are presented by some of the best minds in India. The award will open the doors to innovative, technology-oriented answers to corneal blindness. This is an exciting time in the fight against corneal blindness, and what we hope will be a resounding victory.”
Corneal blindness is responsible for 4.9 million of the 39 million blind people in the world and is the third major cause of blindness after cataract and glaucoma. Since the TKCI and LVPEI partnership began in December 2015 with a pledge of USD10 million funding from the Tej Kohli Foundation, it has completed 2,000 successful corneal operations in India. Through this award the TKCI and LVPEI hope that they can increase the number of successful operations exponentially until the problem is solved globally
 Globally, bilateral (both-eyes) corneal blindness is estimated to be 4.9 million persons or 12.5% of 39 million blind, utilizing WHO 2010 global blindness data and WHO 2002 sub-region causes (updated by 2010 data) to define regional prevalence.
Reference Press; 2009. World Health Assembly Document A62/7: Action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. 2009 – 2013; pp. 7–17.