College of Ophthalmology & Allied Vision Sciences (COAVS) Lahore
College of Ophthalmology and Allied Vision Sciences, (COAVS) starting its journey in a single room as Comprehensive Eye Care Cell (CEC Cell) at Mayo Hospital Lahore in 1999, has rapidly evolved into the most renowned and well-recognized teaching center in the country, imparting education in the fields of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences. It is attached with King Edward Medical University and Mayo Hospital.
Up to December 1998 no step was ever taken to improve the ophthalmic services at district level. In December 1998, Prof Asad Aslam Khan in collaboration with Fred Hollows Foundation conducted a detailed situational analysis of ophthalmic services available at district level in Punjab. The analysis revealed that the number of ophthalmologists was much less than the required number and no trained ophthalmic paramedic or ophthalmic nurse was available at district level. There were no sub-specialty units e.g. Vitreo Retina or Paediatric Ophthalmology, at tertiary level hospitals. In many districts the ophthalmologists were not trained for microsurgery and intraocular lens implantation. Surgical rate in some of the districts was as low as 100 surgeries per year.
In response to the report of the situation analysis, with the intention to improve eye health services in the province, the Punjab health department established a Comprehensive Eye Care Cell (CEC Cell) at Mayo Hospital. The CEC cell accomplished various projects for Prevention of Blindness. In the year 2004, Government of the Punjab, with the addition of teaching faculty for mid-level eye care workers, upgraded it to Punjab Institute of Preventive Ophthalmology (PIPO) to eradicate preventable blindness from the country, particularly from the province of Punjab, and to achieve the goals of Vision 2020 – “The Right to Sight.” This institute was commissioned in a record period of six months. The total cost of the project was Rs.54.50 million, of which Government of the Punjab contributed Rs.27.84 million for the construction, whereas the remaining amount was provided by International NGO’s, WHO and Philanthropists in the form of equipment, furniture and vehicles.
Observing the tremendous success and achievements of Punjab Institute of Preventive Ophthalmology (PIPO) and in view to start postgraduate and subspecialty courses in Ophthalmology and Allied Vision Sciences, Government of the Punjab, in 2007, elevated PIPO to College of Ophthalmology & Allied Vision Sciences (COAVS), The basic aims and objectives i.e. achieving the targets of Vision 2020- “The Right to Sight”, to eradicate preventable blindness from the country have not changed; rather the scope of functioning of the college has broadened with the starting of new courses and launching of new projects
These targets of “Vision 2020” are being achieved through:
- Human Resource Development
- District Comprehensive Eye Care Programs
- Disease Control Projects / Programs
- Continuous Medical Education in Ophthalmology & Allied Vision Sciences
- Awareness Campaigns
Major partners of the college are INGOs e.g. Fred Hollows Foundation Australia, Sight savers UK, Aus-Aid, Irish Aid, & Christoffelblinden Mission (CBM) Germany / CHEF International. In addition Government of Pakistan, Government of the Punjab, World Health Organization (WHO), corporate partners like Standard Chartered Bank and individual Philanthropists have also contributed considerably.