Dr. Ramesh Ayyala to receive American Glaucoma Society’s humanitarian award

Internationally known glaucoma surgeon and researcher Ramesh Ayyala, MD, professor and chair of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology, has been selected to receive the American Glaucoma Society’s 2019 Humanitarian Award.

Ramesh Ayyala, MD

At the society’s annual meeting in San Francisco, Calif., on March 16, Dr. Ayyala will be formally recognized with a special awards presentation recognizing his extraordinary commitment and dedication to preserving vision and improving the quality of life for those in need.

Dr. Ayyala joined USF Health this April from Tulane University, where he filled several leadership roles and rebuilt the ophthalmology residency program following Hurricane Katrina.  Following Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in Plaquemine Parish, 60 miles south of New Orleans, Dr Ayyala and his residents provided free eye care for the entire parish for 13 years by conducting eye camps three times a year and screening hundreds of patients until a new hospital was built.

While at Tulane, he also worked with the American Academy of Ophthalmology to introduce to the Louisiana Legislature a “refill” bill requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of additional prescription eye drops if glaucoma patients run out before their allotted monthly refill. The Louisiana bill was signed into law – and Dr. Ayyala says he hopes to replicate a similar legislative refill initiative to assist glaucoma patients in Florida.

In 2012, his passion for community ophthalmology and resident training led to Dr. Ayyala to help establish the Anand Eye Institute, a teaching and research eye hospital in Hyderabad India, where he continues to serve as founding chairman and member of the Board of Directors. The Institute trains future leaders of ophthalmology while delivering quality eye care to underserved communities and reducing the burden of blindness in India.

Dr. Ayyala is building on USF Health’s reputation as a leader in complex ophthalmological care.  In his few short months in Tampa, he has already successfully transitioned the USF Health Eye Institute to its new, expanded location in the Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare, which includes state-of-the-art equipment for patient care and for technologically advanced training.