One of the few pre Independence institutes pan India, Prabha has been into Eye Care since 1940.
Our Founder - Dr. B K Narayana Rao was known for his selfless, dedicated, and single minded devotion in ensuring that the best in health care is extended to every cross section of the society. He was one of the first Indian Ophthalmologists qualified from the Royal College of Surgeons, London. Like a true freedom fighter, he set out on his mission in realizing quality health care and his dream envisioned into - "Prabha Eye Clinic". He played an unparalleled role in the establishment of various medical institutes and hospitals - a few of them being, Bangalore Medical College (one of the oldest in the entire country) and Minto Regional Institute of Ophthalmology.
Dr. H Krishnamurthy took in the reins from where Dr. BKN had left, and played a pivotal role in establishing Prabha into a major and one of its kind institutes in the entire country. Over the next few decades Dr. HKM was instrumental in transforming Prabha Eye Clinic services into philanthropy - in providing free treatment to the deserving poor.
Dr. Krishnamurthy Ramachandra Murthy, was the visionary who was responsible for the growth of Prabha Eye Clinic and Research Centre.
He also set up the Vittala International Institute of Ophthalmology. He was a doyen in Indian ophthalmology, a pan ophthalmologist who was an expert in every field of ophthalmology. His capacity for work and love of teaching was legendary, his skill in surgery and diagnosis unmatched yet he remained a humble and unassuming person through his life.
Dr Krishnamurthy Ramachandra Murthy was born on 17 March 1943. He was motivated to a career in medicine from a very young age and his role models were his Grandfather Dr B K Narayana Rao, his uncle Dr B N Balakrishna Rao and his father Dr H Krishnamoorthy.
He did his primary education at the National Primary and High school and pre university at the St Joseph’s College. In his pre university he topped the state in the aggregate marks for physics chemistry and biology. This ensured him a place in the prestigious Bangalore Medical College.
The medical college was the period where his great talent and natural skill in the medical profession blossomed . He was blessed with a prodigious memory , colleagues and students often marveled at his ability to recall even minute details in every branch of medicine especially anatomy. He obtained the gold medal in general surgery and also was the second highest in the university marks for his academic period in Bangalore Medical College.he finished 6 months of his internship in Bangalore and a further 6 months in Delhi at the Safdarjung Hospital.
Post internship he decided to specialize in Ophthalmology and proceeded to England for his training. He trained under the great surgeon of his times Dr Michael J Roperhall. He completed the fellowship examination (FRCS-Lon) on the first attempt. He continued to work as a registrar in the department at Birmingham and Midland Eye Hospital for a further one year. At that point his career was at the crossroads, open to him were several opportunities at England and Canada which were very promising, but his innate patriotism made him choose India as the place where he would make his mark in the profession. Back home in Bangalore in 1971 he joined as a faculty in the St Johns Medical College and St Marthas Hospital as an associate professor in ophthalmology. He continued to work part time in the family practice at Prabha Eye Clinic.
He brought in several innovations and new techniques in ophthalmology. He was the first surgeon to start trabeculectomy surgery for glaucoma and presented the first paper on trabeculectomy at the All India Ophthalmological Society meeting . He also started surgeries for congenital glaucoma and presented case series of trabeculotomy and irrigating needle goniotomy. He was among the first 4 surgeons to start vitrectomy surgery in India.the first publication on Eales disease in Indian eyes was co-authored by him with Dr Chandran Abraham and Dr S S Badrinath in 1974 .
He had a great interest in teaching, and guided several post graduates in their theses. He started several continuing medical education programmes in Karnataka and was one of the key persons in reviving the Karnataka Ophthalmological Society in which he held various positions including secretary and president. He was the Organising Secretary of the All India Ophthalmological Society meeting in Bangalore in 1990.
He established the Department of Neurophthalmology at the National Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). He established the first private eye bank in Bangalore at Prabha Eye Clinic and popularised eye donations and keratoplasties ( cornea grafting ) surgeries.
When intraocular lenses became popular in cataract surgery, Dr K R Murthy was one of the first surgeons from our state to master the technique. He was so convinced that this was the innovation of the decade that he spent the next few years training several ophthalmologists in workshops held all over the country.
Being in clinical practice did not stop him from involving himself in research. He performed a series of experiments on wax sclera buckles in rabbits. He had followed up a large series of retinitis pigmentosa patients for several years and in association with Dr Mike Denton of New Zealand was able to identify a genetic mutation causing a variety of retinitis pigmentosa. He was the author of several papers including a study of nuclear hardness and its relationship to colour of the nucleus. This was one of the first studies which documented a fact which is today taken for granted by most surgeons. He designed a new instrument to remove large nonmagnetic foreign bodies from the posterior segment of the eye which was published in the Retina journal.
With the advent of phacoemulsification Dr KRM mastered the technique and taught several ophthalmologists this method of cataract removal. He also started refractive surgery with excimer lasers and he championed the cause of cooperative procurement of this expensive equipment. Together with a group of ophthalmologists he helped to establish the jyothi lasik vision centre where the state of art excimer laser was installed and several ophthalmologists had an acess to use this equipment.
Dr K R Murthy was passionate about teaching. After his stint at St Johns Medical College, he continued to be active in various fora for teaching ophthalmology. He started the DNB training programme in Ophthalmology at Prabha Eye Clinic ( the first DNB programme to be started in Karnataka) and trained several top notch ophthalmologists.
His commitment to social causes were legendary. After two and a half decades in private practice, in order to help surgical expertise reach all sections irrespective of their ability to afford the care, he set up rural eye centres at Magadi, Jigani, Anekal, Hosur and Yelandur. He also set up a state of the art Institute at Bangalore, the Vittala International Institute of Ophthalmology in 2001 at great personal cost. His other project the Nayana was designed to take treatment of Diabetes and Glaucoma to ophthalmologists practicing in rural areas of Karnataka. This enabled more than 85 ophthalmologists to offer services which were hereto available in only a few urban centres to thousands of patients at highly subsidised rates.
He served his patients with utmost humility and love. He always kept the interest of his patients primary and inspired a generation of doctors to follow in his footsteps.