IIT Hyderabad announces a self-sponsored MTech program in Ophthalmic Engineering, in collaboration with the LVPEI

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IIT Hyderabad, in collaboration (IITH) with the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), will offer a blended Master of Technology (MTech) programme in Ophthalmic Engineering, combining their expertise in ophthalmic care and engineering and technology (August 2022). This multidisciplinary MTech programme intends to bridge the gap between physicians and medical practitioners working in the field of eye care and certified technicians from relevant technical disciplines. This might be accomplished through a training programme that combines key parts of medical care (in this case, ophthalmology care) with engineering (optics, biomechanics, and controls engineering, in this instance).

‘In addition to the world-class eye care services offered by LVPEI, the institute is also known for advocating public eye health, basic science research in eye care, capability building of eye care personnel, vision rehabilitation, and eye banking. The institute also set up the centre for technology innovation where clinicians could actively work with engineers and designers to develop innovative solutions for screening, diagnosis, and management of complex eye disorders. In this context, the joint MTech program with IITH is a welcome collaboration, adding a fantastic dimension to our education programs and for sky-rocketing technology innovation at LVPEI to a new level,’

Dr Prashant Garg, Executive Chairman, LVPEI.

The program’s objective is to establish a pool of skilled ophthalmic engineers who can tackle the industry’s most urgent difficulties and develop innovative products. This innovative and ambitious programme aims to train individuals who will be able to tackle technology difficulties in ophthalmology as a start-up.

‘Eye health and good vision have profound implications on many aspects of life, health, sustainable development, and the economy. Beyond affecting the quality of life, vision impairment also affects the annual global productivity loss amounting to US$410.7 billion (Rs 32L Cr). Vision problems can be effectively addressed by appropriately combining medical and technological interventions. While robust models for eye care delivery have been developed on the medical side of things (e.g., the pyramidal model of eye care by LVPEI), significant gaps still exist in meeting the technology side of the problem. The proposed master’s degree level collaborative training program between LVPEI and IITH is an attempt to successfully bridge this gap and create a pool of qualified Ophthalmic Engineers who could take up the pressing challenges in Eye care and provide a practical solution by applying the right and affordable technology to the broader benefit of the society. As one of the premier technical institutes in the country, IITH is gifted with a pool of talented engineers working in various cutting-edge fields of high relevance to Ophthalmology and Optometry. This program aims to create the right ecosystem for the cross-functional engineering and clinical ophthalmology/ optometry teams to advance technology-related R&D in eye care,’

Renu John, Chair – CIP, and Dr K. Nithyanandan, Program Coordinator of Ophthalmic Engineering, IITH.

This programme is designed for medical school graduates, ophthalmologists, optometrists, and engineers who want to advance their careers in the field of vision research and technology-enabled eye care.

‘According to a report by LANCET, an estimated 596 million people had distance vision impairment worldwide of whom 43 million were blind. By 2050, due to increasing urbanization and the growing aging population, around 895 million people are estimated to have distance vision impairment, of whom 61 million will be blind. Action to prioritize eye health is the need of the hour. It’s worth noting that vision impairment from complex diseases afflicting the eye and brain needs a team-based approach to arrive at an optimal solution. On the medical side, the team will comprise ophthalmologists, optometrists, ophthalmic technicians, and nurses that will offer optical, rehabilitative, therapeutic, and surgical care to patients. On the technology side, the team will comprise engineers with a range of technological expertise, who will develop novel technology to bridge critical gaps in the medical system. In this context, the collaboration with IITH is a welcome one, for the combined expertise of both institutes can be harnessed effectively to find effective solutions for many unresolved eye ailments. LVPEI looks forward to working with IITH and its team of brilliant engineers and technologists to develop this new breed of ophthalmic engineers who will bridge the existing lacuna in this field,’

Dr Avinash Pathangey, Director, SCB Academy for Eye Care Education, and Dr Shrikant Bharadwaj, Program Lead, Ophthalmic Engineering at LVPEI.

Students must finish 52 credits over two years, with the first year consisting of two semesters with 14 credits per semester. During these two semesters, students must also take necessary courses in communication skills and an industry lecture series, allowing them to become effective communicators and create ties with business leaders. Students can choose from a variety of courses to fulfil the 14-credit requirement in each semester, which consists of 18 core credits in ophthalmology, vision science, and other engineering components of Eye Care, as well as 10 credits of electives from the relevant topic domain.

‘IITH has a rich technology and innovation ecosystem with the several Departments working on the cutting-edge areas. Keeping up the mission of Inventing and Innovating in Technology for Humanity, the institute set up a Center for Interdisciplinary program (CIP) to encourage cross-discipline research and innovation. Eye care is among the important areas of social interest and technological importance, and our faculty members are already working with the leading institute in the area, including LV Prasad Eye Institute. I am sure this program would offer an excellent platform for developing new indigenous products in Eyecare, which aligns with the national mission of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. I am confident that this unique program would nurture a pool of talented ophthalmic engineers who would certainly, advance eye care and work towards the mission of a blindless society,’

Prof B S Murty, Director, IITH.

The coursework will be taught by top academicians from the IITH and LVPEI teams and will include both theory and laboratories. The third and fourth semesters require students to complete a project under the supervision of both the IITH and LVPEI teams in partnership with industry partners for a total of 24 credits (12 credits per semester).

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