In the words of Benjamin Disraeli, “A consistent soul believes in destiny, a capricious one in chance”. In the words of Dr. Kasu Prasad Reddy, a best eye surgeon from India, himself, in his inimitable honey-pleasant baritone and a strange combination of simple accessibility and aristocratic sophistication in the way he speaks,” life for me has been a string of happy accidents”, one would surmise from his achievements and their sheer magnitude that either destiny winked at him, or he pulled them as happy accidents around for sport.
Even as a happy-go-lucky youngster in medical school, much before his general surgery in Stanley College Madras, Dr. Kasu Prasad had all his eggs in one basket: sports. Having come from political family, he was made to believe medicine would be just a tag in the course of his political foundation. Added to that was Dr. Kasu’s athleticism and sporting abilities that saw him play cricket, tennis, hockey and horse riding all with the zeal of a pro.
Not liking the scenario in politics, following a brief stint in it, he went to England, hold your breath, to play cricket! Having played county cricket, being a surgeon landed him a job in England, where he practised orthopedics for about five-and-a-half years. Dr. Kasu had pursued general surgery for a while before going to England. After orthopedics, he got into neurosurgery and learnt and practiced it for one-and-a-half years. It was a decisive moment in life, when the stroke of fate, as he likes to put it, guided him in the year 1983 into ophthalmology.
Then speak of love at first sight. The idea of love is so deeply entrenched with sight, little must it be known to the one who coined it how complicated the sight itself is. Something deep within him stirred with the advent of ophthalmology in his life and he discovered his calling. “I am what is called an elderly primigravida (an oldish woman getting pregnant for the first time) to ophthalmology”, he laughs in that congenial laughter of his, that is the much sought after weapon in the arsenal of any physician.
Dr. Kasu Prasad Reddy, talks of his struggle to keep up as a top eye specialist in India, in a rather matter of fact tone, “now that I am there, I thought I needed to drive my knowledge on top gear. I kept chasing new things and learning faster than anybody around me”. He adds, “touchline matters, and in the process, I found excellent gurus.” A staunch believer in the system of mentoring, Dr. Kasu Prasad throws some interesting light on the strength of Indian doctors. “It is a strangely funny thing and somehow very satisfying that being in England, it was two Indians , Dr. Kolli Lajpat Rai Chaudhary , who was my senior from Guntur Medical College, and Dr. Srivastav Desai from Karnataka, taught me Ophthalmology”
Dr. Prasad being a best eye surgeon in India owes it to them the pace and form of learning not just in the domain but also life. “They taught me how to earn the wealth of knowledge and yet be modest.” He owns the credit for performing the first LASIK in England and in India. He has done cutting-edge clinical and surgical research on Cataract for a German company, Technolos, Munich, which is a first-of-its kind technology in the world, and a pioneering breakthrough in the field of ophthalmology, which was inaugurated by Dr.Kalam. “I am driven by destiny. Rest is the grace of God”, he puts in modestly, reflecting the internalization of learning, in the path of a true seeker.
As a founder of Maxi vision Eye Hospitals, Dr.Kasu Prasad Reddy’s sense of leadership is demonstrated by the work at Maxivision, and today, is recognised as a centre of excellence in India by STAAR ICL in Paris. He performed the world’s first VICTUS laser refractive cataract surgery, and femtosecond laser system introduced at his centre. A whopping 20% of his work is also charitable, where he provides free treatments at his hospital for the poor and needy every sunday. His treatment procedures have helped millions of people achieve vision without glasses and contact lens. The destiny that Dr. Kasu Prasad believes in as strange as it is convoluted, adventurous, and exciting for him. After twenty years of practice and service in UK, honing skills and developing expertise, he realized that his motherland needs him and came back here for good.
World famous for his procedures, even today, practitioners across the world come to him to learn. He is a qualified pilot, and an avid sports person, continuing to evolve in his sport, with Golf being its current shape.“People like me can stand as an example for effort. Coming from political family and moving away from it, and putting a lot of effort in a different field like medicine and reaching heights cannot be done without lot of efforts in a different field like medicine and reaching heights cannot be done without lot of effort”.Very few people can do it. There are umpteen other great doctors who have not seen the heights. What is missing there is grace, but there is no destiny without effort and there is no effort without destiny. They go hand in hand with each other. Nothing happens without grace of God”. Sermon as it may sound these statements ring true in the face in his life.
After twenty years in a first-world country, tasting success and respect, it would be impossible for most to look back at India as an option to live and work. Yet, when LASER was introduced, Dr. Kasu thought like a true Telugu person. “I felt I Should serve my own people, and I know what kind of a boom it is for the girls of marriageable age. I felt compelled to come back and serve here”. “We are the children of accidents”. Dr. Kasu Prasad declares boldly, and illustrates his own life as proof: “I took flying as a sport for Aerobatics and took a license. I became a British pilot. So, I did aviation medicine, and ended up as authorized medical examiner for civil aviation authority, United Kingdom”.
He adds, “When the German Company was looking at international ophthalmologists for research, they zeroed in on 10 doctors. It is probably because of my knowledge of European standards that I was chosen and today, the result of my work has been presented with a CE Mark of Europe. Now the same work is being used for American FDA”. Most look at future as an opportunity for leisure and retirement, when they have achieved as much as Dr.Kasu Prasad Reddy. He does not believe in it.“I don’t believe in retirement. As long as one’s faculties are intact, one has to keep striving”,he says in his soothing tone, and that exuberant warmth, even as he continues to expound on the future of ophthalmology, “Nanotechnology is coming next. All drugs today that you are seeing, you don’t need to take that many times”.
Poised on the verge of future of pharmacology, Maxivision is working on research projects in that dimension. That love, which took so long in discovering him, has fortunately been full of light. Light, for him, light for his patients, and light for everybody around him. That is one good stroke of fate, anyone would say!