Kathmandu, May 15
After receiving the commitment for support from the government recently, Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO) is gearing up to increase the production of intraocular lens and boost its export.
For the last two decades, TIO has established itself has a pioneer Nepali organisation in modern eye care and export of intraocular lens — which are used to replace the damaged natural eye lens of patients.
Acknowledging the contribution of TIO in modern eye care, the Ministry of Industry last week had announced to recognise TIO’s intraocular lens industry as ‘national pride’ industry. TIO has its intraocular lens production plant based in Tilganga of Kathmandu.
“The government’s commitment to support our industry means a lot and will encourage us to increase production of intraocular lens,” Santosh Sharma, sales and marketing head of TIO, said, adding that TIO will expand its production capacity of intraocular lens following the government’s support.
Signing an agreement with TIO, the government last week had vowed to support TIO to increase production of intraocular lens and other accessories and facilitate in import of raw materials and machineries that are required for its production.
“We have a plan to set up a separate facility to promote production of intraocular lens by transferring the existing facility of the TIO to the new facility,” Industry Minister Nabindra Raj Joshi said, adding that Nepal can become a major source of intraocular lens once production of such lens can be ramped up as per the demand in the international market.
Meanwhile, Sharma of TIO informed that almost 60 per cent of the intraocular lens produced by the institute is being exported to the South Asian market.
TIO currently produces around 450,000 intraocular lens in a year and aims to increase annual production of the lens to 1.5 million units.
“Nepali intraocular lens have comparatively higher demand in Asian countries as production of such lens are low in the region. The demand for Nepali intraocular lens is also increasing among different African nations,” he said.
According to Sharma, Nepali intraocular lens is in high demand in Pakistan and China.
TIO has been exporting such intraocular lens at $4 per piece in the international market and selling it at Rs 225 per piece in the domestic market.
“As these lenses have high demand in the global market, increase in export of Nepali intraocular lens will also be a boon to the economy of the country,” added Sharma.
A version of this article appears in print on May 16, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.