Reflecting the Balance theme of the RANZCO NZ 2021 conference, which included a push for better sustainability in ophthalmology, especially within cataract surgery, ophthalmic products supplier Medix 21 was proudly displaying Aurolab products from the Aravind eyecare system.
Aravind Eye Hospitals in India were founded by Dr Govindappa Venkataswamy, an Indian ophthalmologist who dedicated his life to eliminating needless blindness. Since their foundation, the hospitals have had a major impact in eradicating cataract-related blindness in India and are primarily funded by their not-for-profit manufacturing arm Aurolab.
Referring to Dr Cassandra Thiel’s presentation about her research on sustainability, which compared the efficiency, sustainability and economic benefits of the Aravind system with its Western counterparts, Medix 21’s surgical sales manager Camille Furnandiz said it was the quality of the group’s intraocular lenses (IOLs) that first attracted her to Aurolab.
Previously with J&J Vision, Furnandiz said she was looking for a new range of IOLs of a similar quality to what she’d been used to selling but with a real economic point of difference given today’s price pressures from private insurers. “Aurolab’s Aurovue IOLs ticked all the boxes in terms of quality, and it means we can offer the market a pre-loaded monofocal for less than $100 and a pre-loaded toric for $300.
“The ophthalmic surgeons from the YMAM Medical Ships who use Aurolab products also validated their quality for us. Then the more we researched them, the more we realised how experienced Aravind’s team were, how long they’d been running and how strong their values were.”
Furnandiz said the ophthalmologists she’d approached were also attracted to the story behind the lenses as much as their quality, with one telling her that he’d like to see a lot more first-world ophthalmologists supporting models like the Aravind eyecare system to help provide more eyecare in Third World countries.
Aurolab was established as a non-profit charitable trust for manufacturing ophthalmic consumables in 1992 specifically to supply high quality, affordable IOLs for cataract operations. It has since expanded its product range to include surgical sutures and blades, pharmaceuticals and ophthalmic equipment.