New training center for ophthalmologists opens in Pune

February 13, 2019

CBM and ZEISS scale up successful collaboration



36 million people around the globe are blind. Approximately one third of them was blinded by a treatable cataract. Frequently, those affected do not have access to medical care. Particularly in remote regions, the training and continuing education of ophthalmologists and medical personnel are a key part in the fight against preventable blindness. ZEISS and the Christoffel Mission for the Blind (CBM) have – together with a local partner, the Poona Blind Men Association – opened a new training center for treating cataracts in Pune, India. The goal is to train ophthalmologists and medical personnel throughout the country in phacoemulsification, a modern surgical technique.


“In India, one of the world’s most populous countries, there is a real need for ophthalmologists with the right training,” says Dr. Rainer Brockhaus, the CBM’s CEO. “With this new center, we’re doing our part to enable top-quality ophthalmic care. In the future, poorer people in remote regions will also benefit from this.” Dr. Ludwin Monz, Chairman of the Management Board at Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, adds: “The new phaco training center is the result of a long standing, goal-driven collaboration between CBM and ZEISS. We already opened a special training center in Paraguay last year.”

Doctors and medical personnel learn how to use modern devices at the training center located at the H. V. Desai Eye Hospital in India. This ensures that, after having received this training, medical staff will be able to provide patients with better medical treatment in line with the latest medical standards.

CBM has supported the eye hospital run by the Poona Blind Men Association since 2000. The renowned eye care clinic serves a region with more than 37 million people and conducts field visits within a 350 kilometer radius. In the past year alone, more than 580,000 patients sought help from the H. V. Desai Eye Hospital, and more than 34,000 of them underwent cataract surgery. The local partner covers the costs for those people who cannot afford treatment.

This was the case for ten-year-old Anjali from Pune. The girl, who lives with her grandparents, was almost blind in both eyes. She could hardly see what was taught in class. During a mass screening at her school, a team from the H. V. Desai Eye Hospital ultimately diagnosed a cataract in each eye. Anjali underwent surgery at the H. V. Desai Eye Hospital. The procedure only took a few minutes, but it changed her life. Now she can see again and has no problem following along in class.

Improved education and instruction at the new training center will give even more people in India the gift of sight.

Phacoemulsification – a gentle, minimally invasive procedure

Phacoemulsification is a technique that employs ultrasonic vibrations to break up the clouded lens. The lens fragments are then suctioned out, and an artificial lens is implanted. This state-of-the-art procedure enables gentle, minimally invasive surgery and has been a standard method in countries like Germany for several decades. However, it has been much slower to reach many developing countries. “Thanks to this collaboration, we’re helping to establish modern ophthalmic techniques in countries like India, thereby improving eye care treatment for patients,” says Dr. Monz.

Image of Ten-year-old Anjali from Pune

Ten-year-old Anjali from Pune

Image of Training center in H. V. Desai Eye Hospital

Training center in H. V. Desai Eye Hospital


Image for Inauguration of new training center in Pune

Inauguration of new training center in Pune