Google on Monday honoured renowned ophthalmologist Dr Govindarappa Venkataswamy with a doodle, on his 100th birthday. Venkataswamy, known to friends and patients as Dr V, was the founder of Aravind Eye Hospitals. He died on July 7, 2006, at the age of 87.
Google said that Venkataswamy, born in 1918, was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis in his youth, which left him crippled and in bed for a year. However, he managed to return to school and study for a degree in ophthalmology in 1951.
Venkataswamy could reportedly perform 100 cataract surgeries in a day. He set up eye examination camps in rural areas, rehabilitation centres for the blind, and a training program for ophthalmic assistants. Venkataswamy performed over one lakh cataract surgeries himself.
In 1973, the Indian government awarded Venkataswamy the Padma Shri for his work.
Three years later, he established the GOVEL Trust to fund the first Aravind Eye Hospital. The 11-bed facility was self-funded by doctors. Eventually, Aravind Eye Hospitals grew to nearly 4,000 beds performing over 2 lakh eye surgeries each year, Google said. This was 60% of the number of cataract surgeries the NHS service in Britain performed, at a much lower cost, it added.