The problem of avoidable blindness rapidly escalating remained a major cause of concern in the Indian healthcare scenario. In a developing country like India, the government alone cannot meet the health needs of all owing to a number of challenges like growing population, inadequate infrastructure, low per capita income, aging population, diseases in epidemic proportions and illiteracy.
Realizing this, Dr. Venkataswamy wished to establish an alternate health care model that could supplement the efforts of the government and also be self-supporting. Following his retirement at age 58 in 1976, he established the GOVEL Trust under which Aravind Eye Hospitals were founded.
The hospitals are named after Sri Aurobindo, one of the 20th century’s most revered spiritual leaders. In essence, Sri Aurobindo’s teachings insist on transcendence into a heightened state of consciousness and becoming better instruments for the divine force to work through.
In an eleven bed hospital manned by 4 medical officers, Dr.V saw the potential for what is today, one of the largest facilities in the world for eye care. Over the years, this organisation has evolved into a sophisticated system dedicated to compassionate service for sight.