Meet the man who aims to eradicate trachoma, the worlds biggest cause of childhood blindness

4101You could be forgiven for not knowing the name Bobby Qureshi, but the ophthalmic surgeon has the potential to change the lives of millions of people.

Qureshi is modest, quietly spoken and has a manner quite unusual for someone so commercially successful. Now in his mid 40’s he trained at some of Britain’s leading academic hospitals including Guy’s, St Thomas’ and St Andrews.

Owner of the Harley Street based London Eye Hospital Group, Qureshi has built the company into one of the UK’s most successful ophthalmic enterprises and arguably one of the biggest independent groups of its type in the world. The group encompasses the clinic, attended by A-listers and royals alike and provides the most cutting-edge solutions to all treatable eye conditions. London Eye Hospital Pharma is also part of the group and is focused on researching and developing the latest advances in technology, as well as formulating active supplements to help control a whole range of eye conditions.

What’s the secret behind his success? Well if you ask the man, then you’ll get a simple answer.

“It’s really just common sense to me. As an eye surgeon I treat patients with a whole range of issues, many of which have been previously untreatable. As well as performing surgery I have also always enjoyed creating and inventing. So when existing technology isn’t good enough for my patients I just go into my lab and invent it!”

Qureshi’s latest revolutionary invention, the iolAMD is set to restore vision to millions of dry AMD sufferers and could also set investors’ eyes alight with a potential for profitability never seen before in the market. Before iolAMD there was little to help these people who had to suffer almost complete blindness and the few options available included large incisions, high potential infection rates and significant discomfort for the patient. Now it is an operation that any competent cataract surgeon can perform in minutes. After the launch of the ground breaking technology based on the Hubble telescope, conservative estimates of the commercial sales are in the region of $25 billion annually which should place Qureshi firmly in the world billionaire list.

IolAMD is just the most recent in a series of world launches for Qureshi including Symfony lenses, the Light Adjustable Lens and the Femtosecond – all industry firsts. However, the man is not content with sitting back and is firmly focused on a project of global importance.

Something very close to his heart is attempting single handedly to stamp out childhood blindness due to trachoma, a disease which affects millions of children, rendering them almost blind, but which is, frustratingly, eminently preventable and curable. This work has already started through his charity London Eye Hospital Trust, but will be given a major boost once the iolAMD technology sale is completed. Qureshi has pledged $1 Billion from iolAMD sales to charity to help achieve this.

If Qureshi can eradicate trachoma, he will have done the world an immense service. Treating trachoma is very straight forward, and can be done with a simple one-off antibiotic treatment. However, these drugs are still very expensive. Preventing trachoma however, is much more difficult and will need to involve significant education and collaboration between governments, health agencies and health practitioners as well as better education in schools.

“I actually don’t see myself as ground breaking, simply fulfilling an unmet need. If I have a patient who existing technology can’t help, then it’s part of my job to create something that will. A project of this scale needs significant funding and support, which is why I am willing to invest a major proportion of the costs.”

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention.

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