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'Visionary' Maha eye surgeon Dr T. P. Lahane hangs up his boots

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By NS Desk 01-Jul-2021

Mumbai, July 1 (IANS) The country's leading ophthalmologist Dr Tatyaro P. Lahane -- who created a world record with an eye-popping 162,000-plus cataract surgeries -- has retired after over 36 years from government service.

"Now, I will go back to my first love, Opthalmology" a visibly relaxed Lahane told IANS a day after hanging up his boots and attending a variety of media events.

Having served in various capacities with the government, the last post he held was the prestigious Director - Directorate of Medical Education & Research (DMER) - and was one of the key persons leading the anti-Covid war in the state.

Often regarded as the 'Last Word' in eye ailments, Lahane completed his 100,000th cataract surgery in 2007 -- witnessed by the late Union Minister and former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh -- and was conferred a Padma Shri (2008). Since then the record has climbed upto over 162,000 eye surgeries.

On his post-retirement plans as the country paid tributes to the medical fraternity on National Doctors Day on Thursday, Lahane said he will continue to "serve the people", and would not stop as far as ophthalmology was concerned, going back to the Opthalmology Department at the Sir J. J. Hospital where he was once the Dean.

He was born on February 12, 1957 to a farmer couple Pundlikrao and Anjanabai Lahane, as one of seven siblings, in a small village Makegaon in Latur district.

After his schooling and medical education, he started his professional career at the Ambejogai Hospital in adjoining Beed district.

During his childhood, both his kidneys had failed and his mother donated one of her kidneys to save his life and later in 1995, he underwent a kidney transplant in Mumbai.

Despite the kidney transplant, continuing on medication, Lahane works for more than 15 hours daily and is reputed to have not taken a single day off in several decades.

During his tenure at the Sir J. J. Hospital, he modernized the age-old Opthalmology Department and also brought the state-of-the-art Phacoemulsification Surgery to the government sector which revolutionized cataract treatment in public hospitals frequented by the poor and needy.

Over the years in the public health sector, Lahane conducted thousands of eye camps in the remotest villages or tribal hamlets to bring the benefits of the latest treatment for eye ailments to those who could ill-afford treatment costs or travel to hospitals in distant urban centres.

In 2018, film-maker Virag M. Wankhede paid a celluloid tribute to him with a Marathi biopic - "Dr. Tatya Lahane - Angaar Power is Within".

In his long innings in the ophthalmology field, Lahane has lectured widely, conducted eye camps, and has been conferred several honours and awards for his services to the community and humanity.

--IANS

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