Doyen of opthalmology Agarwal passes away


Son of late patriot Dr R S Agarwal, a deep compassion for the suffering and a vision to eradicate blindness drove Dr J Agarwal to start the Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital in Chennai along with his wife Dr T Agarwal. Even the hospital, he first founded here, is in the shape of an eye. His wife predeceased him early this year.

Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital had not only pioneered various cataract surgery techniques in the country since he introduced the refractive keratoplasty and cryoextraction in 1960s’, but also took the concept of mass cataract camps to hundreds of villages in Tamil Nadu from Chennai, as part of his commitment to eradicate blindness.
Various surgical innovations in the field of cataract surgery like no anaesthesia cataract surgery is also credited to his hospital that also treats and performs complex surgeries for hundreds of patients from abroad including from neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh.

During the Kargil War, Dr Agarwal sent a special team of doctors to treat the eye problems of the soldiers fighting for India on the Himalayan heights.
Dr Agarwal started his first eye-care centre here in 1957 in a very modest way with just Rs 60. The Hospital Group has now more than 30 centres across India including one in Bangalore.

Dr Agarwal also pioneered the Eye Donation Campaign for the treatment of corneal blindness and also initiated a movement for the screening of school children for defective vision and early treatment. His son Dr Amar Agarwal, is an equally distinguished International eye surgeon today.

Honours
Dr Agarwal, who became president of the All India Opthalmological Society in 1992, received honours from the Singapore National Eye Centre, and the Eye Donation Society, Sri Lanka, among others. Dr Agarwal was honoured with Padmabhushan in March 2006, as a crowning glory to a highly distinguished and selfless career to help humanity at large.

In a profound and touching gesture, Dr Agarwal had willed that his two eyes be donated after his death.

Paying a rare tribute to a legend of Indian opthalmology, Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi personally drove down to Dr Agarwal’s residence to pay his last homage on Monday. AIADMK General Secretary Jayalalithaa and MDMK leader Vaiko, were among those who expressed their deep condolence at the passing away of Dr Agarwal.

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