Eye Research in India

Ophthalmic research in India has a glorious past1,2 and a vibrant present3.

Sushruta, who practiced during the 5th century BC, classified eye diseases in the Uttar Tantram according to signs, symptoms, prognosis, and management. Sushruta’s description of cataract surgical method was probably the first account on extracapsular cataract surgery1.

Indian ophthalmologists inherit the amazing contribution to ophthalmic research by scholars like King Serfoji II of Thaanjavur, who carried out methodical ophthalmic practices between 1798 and 1832 and kept detailed records with the help of charts and manuscripts2.

In a bibliometric analysis of Indian ophthalmic papers published from 2001 to 2006 in peer-reviewed journals, a near doubling of the annual output of research articles was observed, two-thirds of these being published in international journals3.

However the same study showed that 50% of the publications were contributed by only nine major eye hospitals in India and articles on basic science were the least common type in that series3.

Ophthalmic literature from developed and developing countries were compared in a retrospective review of the five highest scoring impact factor journals in ophthalmology within the 3 year period 1998-2000. Contribution from the developing world was only 5.47% of the literature compared to 92.19% from the developed world; only 2.33% being the collaborative research from the two groups4.

While developing countries account for the vast majority of world blindness, this inverse relationship between burden and research contribution demands urgent attention from Indian scientists engaged in ophthalmic research.

Only 16.5% of the free papers presented at the All India Ophthalmic Society Annual Conference 2000 were published over the next seven years in journals indexed with Pubmed5.

Another study showed that only 30% of theses prepared by postgraduate students from a university medical college in India were later published6.

Current Indian Eye Research plans to publish articles based on researches conducted in the Indian perspective with special thrust on inter disciplinary research. Emerging issues in ophthalmology will find special place in this journal.

We particularly look forward towards young researchers and trainees toiling hard on their research work. We hope that their work may find useful place and recognition in this journal.

I thank all contributors for their overwhelming response in our first issue.


  1. Kansupada KB, Sassani JW. Sushruta: the father of Indian surgery and ophthalmology. Doc Ophthalmol 1997; 93: 159-67.
  2. Biswas J, Badrinath V, Badrinath SS. Ophthalmic contributions of Raja Serfoji II (1798-1832). Indian J Ophthalmol 2012; 60: 297-300.
  3. Kumaragurupari R, Sieving PC, Lalitha P. A bibliometric study of publications by Indian ophthalmologists and vision researchers, 2001-06. Indian J Ophthalmol 2010; 58: 275-80.
  4. Mandal K, Benson S, Fraser SG. The contribution to ophthalmic literature from different regions of the world. Int Ophthalmol 2004; 25: 181-4.
  5. Dhaliwal U, Kumar R. An observational study of the proceedings of the All India Ophthalmological Conference, 2000 and subsequent publication in indexed journals. Indian J Ophthalmol 2008; 56: 189–95.
  6. Dhaliwal U, Singh N, Bhatia A. Masters theses from a university medical college: Publication in indexed scientific journals. Indian J Ophthalmol 2010;58:101-4.

Sambuddha Ghosh




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