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A critical finding in preventive eye care of the nation’s future citizens wins high recognition

LASFIN Project

It was an interesting demonstration of reversal of sequence in acknowledgement and honour when SASTRA University a high seat of academia and research honoured a critical finding pertaining to the preventive eye health of children with a PhD. The trail blazing finding and recommendation by Ms Kalpa Negiloni, PLOS One, Senior Research Optometrist LASFIN Project, Sankara Nethralaya, titled ‘Environmental factors and Visual requirements in school classrooms and development of recommendations for classroom visual environment’a recommendation on lighting levels and seating ergonomics in school classrooms, which would not only enable better viewing of the blackboard and books leading to better academic results and also have a far reaching impact on the eye health of school children, was honoured with a Doctorate. While the transition of most scientific findings is from academia to real time application, a phenomena popularly referred to in clinical parlanceas ‘bench to bedside’, the finding by Ms Kalpa Negiloni had interestingly made headlines in ‘Times of India’ a mainstream newspaper as a human interest story and was also adopted as a benchmark in regulating classroom illumination and seating pattern by the Directorate of School Education, Tamil Nadu and shared with the heads of government schools in the State through a Government Order (GO) issued by the Director of School Education, Tamil Nadu.

The finding of mass impact cleared the highest scientific evaluation when Ms Kalpa successfully defended the same on the 31st of December 2018 before the doctoral jury at SASTRA University’s Thanjavur campus, consisting of  Dr Sudharsanam Manni Balasubramaniam, who serves as Manager -Evidence Measurement and Evaluation at Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, New Delhi (CIFF) the well known London Headquartered philanthropic organization, who was the chairman of the open defense viva voce examination and Dr Jayalalitha, Dean- Research, SASTRA University along with members of the faculty who were the evaluation team. The interactive presentation proved to be a good learning experience for the 2nd year BS Optometry students at SASTRA who had assembledas observers. Ms Kalpa Negiloni was guided in her doctoral work by Dr RR.Sudhir, Head of the Department, Preventive Ophthalmology and Senior Consultant, CJ Shah Corneal Services, Sankara Nethralaya and Dr Krishna Kumar Ramani, Principal Elite School of Optometry (ESO).

The findings assume special significance in view of the fact that children spend an average of 6 to 7 hours every day at their classrooms for almost 10 years of their life and thecost benefit ratio of implementation of the recommendations which makes it a highly feasible step that could be implemented across a large number of rural schools.

The Sankara Nethralaya family conveys its hearty Congratulations! to Dr Kalpa Negiloni on her constant pursuit of improving the typical classrooms in Indian schools and her findings which would have a significant impact on the vision and visual comfort of a highly delicate group and wishesher many more laurels and accolades in her academic and professional journey.

An institution dedicated to Service honours a lifelong dedication to Service

The evening of the 26th of December 2018 would remain etched in the minds of the large number of Sankara Nethralaya family members assembled at the Sri V.D.Swami Auditorium, located at its main campus, a colourful and joyous moment when the legendary ‘Pune Pagdi’ the bright turban which adorned the heads of Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak the fiery freedom fighter and Gopal Krishna Gokhale the moderate freedom fighter and social reformer, the bright headgear which had become a proud symbol of India’s nationalism and fight against foreign rule adorned the humble persona of the man who had been fighting all his life for freedom from blindness of his people, leading to a self reliant and independent life. The occasion was the awarding of the first ‘Pune Netra Seva National Award’ instituted in honour and memory of Late G.M Shetty of  Modern Cafe, Pune, a philanthropist who supported social causes generously, by the Pune Seva Netra Pratisthan a unique and pioneering service institution engaged in bringing back the light of vision and joy totally cost free to thousands of visually impaired in the rural parts of Maharashtra, for the past 40 years. The award was instituted to recognize and honour an outstanding personality working in the field of ophthalmology, as part of the Pune Seva Netra Pratisthan’s 40th anniversary celebrations and the members of the executive committee of the organization chose Dr SS. Badrinath, Founder & Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya unanimously for the same. The fact that the award was being conferred by an institution governed by the same philosophy and values, an institution that has been serving a large number of indigent visually impaired in the backward regions of the country for the same number of years as the institution started by the recipient of the award and the fact that it was being conferred by the first citizen of the state made it a very special award.

Dr. Madhusudhan Jamwar, Founder, President and moving force of the Pune Seva Netra Pratisthan set the tone for the evening with a dash of nostalgia with his fond recollection of meeting the illustrious recipient of the award for the first time, at the All India Ophthalmic Congress (AIOC) at Amritsar in year 1979 when Sankara Nethralaya the institution started by him was a fledgling, one year old, 20 or so bedded hospital. Dr Jamwar’s compliment that no one was more deserving of the award than Dr SS.Badrinath, in view of his pioneering role in alleviating the suffering of the visually impaired both rich and poor, by leveraging a high level of knowledge and infrastructure of his institution was a clear indication that the humanitarian doctor had been a keen observer of his counterpart on the other side of the Vindhyas, who became his mentor and idol in the years that followed. Dr Madhusdhan gave a most absorbing account of how his dream institution the ‘Pune Purva Seva Pratisthan’ operated without a physical address, as an NGO of Doctors that relied on its team of service oriented consultants for the treatment dispensed and the local community for technical and infrastructural support. Dr Jamwar hailed Dr Prema Padmanabhan, among Sankara Nethralaya’s oldest and most versatile and accomplished surgeons being honoured on the occasion, as a most distinguished Cornea and Refractive services Consultant, a humble, soft spoken teacher and guide who has the pride of serving as the Honorary consultant to the President of India.

Responding to the honour a visibly moved Dr Prema Padmanabhan hailed Dr SS.Badrinath as the Patriarch and Matriarch of the institution, she paid rich compliments to the Pune Purva Seva Pratisthan for its 40 years of glorious service to society. Declaring with pride that she had spent 1/3 of her life at Sankara Nethralaya under the mentorship of Dr SS.Badrinath whom she described as a sagacious mentor, chastising father, tender mother and guiding teacher all in one day, she added that he was a man who not only taught his team on how to treat patients but fellow human beings as a whole. The learned Doctor hailed the award recipient as a man who redefined outreach programs beyond boundaries, she expressed amazement on how many of his future plans which had a larger than life canvas and seemed like castles in the air would evolve as real, impactful initiatives with the passage of time, she cited the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) and Tele-ophthalmology supported outdoor eye camps as case studies of the same.

Beginning his address in a lighter vein by referring to the man being honoured as a ‘son-in-law’ of Maharashtra,  the Chief Guest of the function His Excellency Banwarilal Purohit, the Honourable Governor of Tamil Nadu gave a most detailed account of the services rendered by the honouring organization, the  man being honoured and the institution started by him. He cited their service, financial model technology adaption etc. The first citizen of the State appealed to doctors to synergize allopathic treatment with various indigenous forms of treatment like Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha for a holistic approach to treating diseases.

Delivering the acceptance and thanks note on behalf of Dr SS Badrinath, Dr Vasanthi Badrinath, Director, Clinical Services, Sankara Nethralaya thanked Dr Madhusudhan Jamwar and his team for conferring the award and taking the trouble of travelling all the way from Pune to hold the function at Chennai. She expressed deep gratitude to the Governor for gracing the occasion in the midst of his busy schedules and for his kind words. Dr Vasanthi Badrinath used the opportunity to highlight Sankara Nethralaya’s pioneering role in introducing trail blazing concepts and practices in ophthalmology like group practice, treating all sub-specialties of ophthalmology under one roof, teaching and training initiatives, advanced community outreach facilities like the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit, developing ophthalmic technology, Electronic Medical Record, exhaustive ophthalmic research etc. Dr Vasanthi Badrinath expressed deep appreciation for the great work done by the ‘Pune Purva Seva Pratisthan’ towards eliminating blindness among the less fortunate sections of society in rural India and  appealed to them to extend their services to places beyond the state of  Maharashtra.

Dr Prema Padmanabhan’s description of the lofty ideals and qualities of the man being honoured as the ‘Quintessence of a Karmayogi’ summed up the spirit of the day in a single sentence.

Sankara Nethralaya’s team ‘AMMA’ leads the premier league at major meet with their tender touch

womens_ophthalmology_society

If ‘AMMA’ the name chosen for the SN team to represent Tamil Nadu at the 3rd Annual Conference of the ‘Women’s Ophthalmology Society’ being held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre between the 21st-23rd December 2018 seemed most appropriate a name for a team representing an institution committed to treatment with love and a personal touch and a most advanced Pediatric Ophthalmology department, ‘Tender Vision’ the theme chosen by the team added its own flavour to the name.The team consisting of Dr Kavitha Kalaivani, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Ophthalmology department, Dr Vasumathy Vedhantam, Senior VR Surgeon and Medical Director, Radhatri Nethralaya and Dr NissarSonamPoonam, Associate Consultant, the Department of Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Servicesled by Dr Niveditha Narayanan, Senior Consultant, Cornea Department was adjudged as the ‘Best Team’ in the ‘Ophthalmic Premier League’ State level competition held at the meet.

We take pleasure in sharingthe winning presentations made by each of the team members

womens_ophthalmology_society

Team captain Dr. Niveditha Narayanan presented a most informative and interesting video on Protected PK technique.

Dr. Kavitha Kalaivani presented an insightful video providing critical inputs on Iris handling and pupilloplasty in Pediatric traumatic cataract

Dr. Vasumathy Vedantham’s most poignant dream come true story on ROP screening and how she was able to reach out to remote villages for the screening  moved the heart and soul of the viewers

Dr. Nisar Sonam Poonam presented agripping video on the most advanced process of USG guided intra lesional Bleomycin in treating orbital lymphangiomas.

The ‘AMMA’ team expresses its sincere thanks for the support extended by Mr Mohan, Team Leaderand the Multimedia team without which the winning videos may not have been possible.

Sankara Nethralaya family conveysits hearty congratulations to thecaptain and members of the ‘AMMA’ team for keeping the SN flag flying high at a most prestigious meet and wishes them many more laurels and accolades in their professional/academic journey

Proud moment to share from the Sankara Nethralaya’s Occupational Optometry Services

Dr RashimaAsokan, Assistant Professor – ESO and Optometrist was awarded the Golden Jubilee medal during the 67th state Indian Association of Occupational Health (IAOH), Tamilnadu chapter. The State IAOH has selected the scientific paper titled “Impact of vision correction on the quality of life and productivity among automobile mechanics” presented by Dr Rashima at the National level IAOH conference (OCCUCON2018) held at Pune, 2018. She was awarded the Best paper presented from Tamilnadu.

This research was a part of Vision Correction Impact Study done by the department of Occupational Optometry Services under the able guidance of Dr PP Santanam and Dr R Krishnakumar. The study assessed the impact of vision correction in different occupations among the small-scale industries. The team of occupational optometry services (Dr R Krishnakumar, Dr Rashima, Ms RaajaMaheswari, Ms Dhanalakshmi and Ms Janani) were appreciated by the doctors and the occupational health experts who attended the meeting.

It has given the team an inspiritment to continue the occupational optometry services across all the sectors.

Sankara Nethralaya’s head of Binocular Vision becomes first Indian to be conferred with a ‘Diplomate’ in her niche field by the AAO.

AAO

In a development that placed Sankara Nethralaya’s head of Binocular Vision and her institution right at the top slot, the American Academy of Optometry(AAO) the world leader in the field conferred its coveted ‘Diplomate’ in Binocular Vision, Perception and Pediatrics on Dr Rizwana, Assistant Professsor, Elite School of Optometry.The high academic recognition comes as yet another major milestone covered and a bright jewel in the crown for a passionate researcher, student,teacher and irrepressible explorer who has such diverse credits as, being chosen by the Department of Education & Training, Australia High Commission, as ‘Australia Award- Endeavour Ambassador’ to spearhead collaborative research and education between the two nations, a Doctorate by the BITS Pilani for her exhaustive paper on ‘Binocular vision care for children’, the clinician who played a pivotal and pioneering role in the creation of TRYe (Train your eye) a first of its kind vision therapy software for amblyopia and the establishment of a ‘Special Children’s clinic’ for children who need special attention and functional assessment, at the Sankara Nethralaya main campus.

With Dr. John Tassinari (chair of the BVPPO section), and Dr. Ronald Gall (One of the examiners)

It was the glorious culmination of an eventful three year journey for Ms Rizwana who enrolled into the Diplomate process at the AAO in 2015, as she was declared a ‘Diplomate in Binocular Vision, Perception, Pediatrics and Optometry’(BVPPO) at San Antonio, on the 8th of November 2018.It is noteworthy to mention here that she was guided by the legendary Dr Mitchell Scheiman, Dean of the Salisbury University. The award highlights the recipient and her institution’s pioneering role in the fields of recognition in the certification and promises to take awareness creation and collaborative learning in these fields to the next level!

The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its hearty congratulations and puts its hands together for a standing ovation to its dynamic member!

It was a touching moment for the SN family and the winner when Professor Dr B.R.Natarajan an alumnus of BITS Pilani shared her journey and achievements in a passionate one page write-up.

We take great pleasure in sharing the same below
Dr BR Natarajan’s write-up

It was the glorious culmination of an eventfulthree year journey for Ms Rizwana who enrolled into the Diplomateprocess at the AAO in 2015,as she was declared a ‘Diplomate in Binocular Vision,Perception,Pediatrics and Optometry’(BVPPO) at San Antonio, on the 8th of November 2018.It is noteworthy to mention here that she was guided by the legendary Dr Mitchell Scheiman, Dean of the Salisbury University. The award highlights the recipient and her institution’s pioneering role in the fields of recognition in the certification and promises to take awarenesscreation and collaborative learning in these fields to the next level!

Global leader in optical aids crowns SN researcher with a coveted title

IVI Essilor optometry wizard of the year

We take great pleasure and pride in sharing that Ms Mehal P.Rathore, Research Assistant at the Cornea Department has been awarded the coveted title of ‘IVI Essilor optometry wizard of the year’. The competition conducted on a national level by the optical aids major drew participation from all over the country; contestants had to clear a web-based round, phone-in round to qualify for the final face to face round. Ms Mehal demonstrated her deep understanding and clear subject matter expertise in a keenly contested final round held at the Sri Prakash Institute of Optometry, Chennai on 8th November 2018, covering a broad spectrum of topics as diverse as Clinical Ophthalmology, Ocular Diseases, Clinical Optometry, Contact Lens, Low Vision Aids. Binocular Vision and Dispensing Optics to walk away with the title of ‘optometry wizard’ the award included a cash prize of INR 10,000 and the results were covered by leading dailies like the Times of India, Business Standard, Hans India and Daily Hunt.

The Sankara Nethralaya family conveys its hearty Congrats! to Ms Mehal for this high recognition by a leader in optics and for keeping the SN flag flying high in a highly prestigious knowledge exposition. We wish her many more laurels and accolades in her academic and professional journey.

News Digest

The ‘Temple of the Eye’ starts a new chapter in ‘Maanava Seva’ in a sacred temple town

A close look at the inception, growth and 4 decades of service by Sankara Nethralaya would make it apparent that if something has been the consistent moving force for all the above, next only to the blessings of the Kanchi Acharyas, it is the boundless love to mankind, a strong sense of service, a no strings attached generosity and utmost faith in the institution exhibited by its donors and well wishers. It was a beautiful demonstration of this faith that was being showcased on the 20th of September 2018 in the small town of Chetpet in Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu, as the curtains went up on yet another major step in Sankara Nethralaya’s battle against blindness, in a semi urban area. The day’s proceedings got off with a warm welcome note to the large gathering by the visionary founder and Chairman Emeritus presiding over the inaugural of his institution’s 7th unit in the State and 12th in the country, his passion and involvement in the event taking one back to the day the journey began 4 decades ago. Hailing Chief Donor Shri Surajmal Jain, Philantrophist, Visionary, Educationist and Chairman of Acharya Sri Hasthi Aradhana Foundation (ASHA) a long time friend and well wisher, for his massive social service in the region, he underlined that his philanthropy, vision and persistence in doing good were instrumental in the inception of the new unit. The head of Sankara Nethralaya thanked district collector Shri KS Kandaswamy and Rajayogini B.K. Uma of the Brahma Kumari movement for gracing the function, he reiterated the institution’s avowed principle of dispensing high quality care without disparity to both paying and non paying patients and urged the gathering to make the best use of the facility coming up in their locality and fulfil the dream of the generous donor who had envisaged such a service for them.

A typical trait of all Sankara Nethralaya’s endeavours is the blurring of the line of difference between the beneficiary and benefactor and it was evident in great measure at the inaugural with the involvement and efforts to make it a grand event by Shri Surajmal Jain and his family by attending to every little detail with love and ensuring the comfort of the members of the Sankara Nethralaya family and other invitees.

It was a noble event, with noble people participating in it and noble messages filled the air quite naturally, eminent philanthropist and educationist Shri Surajmal Jain whose contribution of the premises for the institution was instrumental in its formation observed that if DrSS.Badrinath had any commercial motives there would be no Sankara Nethralaya today and his consent to start a unit in Tiruvannamalai came as a boon to the people of all the 6 taluks of the district. Guest of Honour Rajayogini B.K. Uma hailed the unit as a contribution of two great Mahans, Shri Surajmal Jain and Dr SS.Badrinath, she persuaded every individual in the gathering to stop thinking for a minute on how to take or receive and concentrate on how to give back to society, which would be for the spiritual and material well being of the world. The public spirited collector of the district Shri K.S.Kandaswamy presiding as the Chief Guest declared that it was the blessings of his birth that he was sharing the dais with a legend like Dr SS.Badrinath, he thanked Shri Surajmal Jain and Sankara Nthralaya for starting an advanced eye care unit that would serve the paying and non paying patients in his district. The collector joined Rajayogini B.K. Uma in making a passionate plea to set aside something from one’s income to the society, adding that philanthropy was not an exclusive prerogative of the wealthy and everyone should exhibit kindness and the spirit of giving within their capacity.  Dr Girish Rao, Medical Director hailed the infrastructure of the new unit as being on par with the main hospital, he had a high word of praise for Shri Surajmal Jain, his wife and sons Shri Kamal and Shri Sunil for their persistence and steadfastness which helped in overcoming several legal and procedural hurdles and made the centre a reality. The crowning glory of the day was the message and blessing by HH Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal, the Pontiff of the Kanchi Mutt, made through a virtual appearance. The Seer explained that it is only by constant pursuit of how, where and when we can be of help and service to fellow human beings that we can fulfil the purpose of our avatar as human beings. He expressed his joy at the opening of a Sankara Nethalaya unit at Tiruvannamalai and blessed the unit for its success and to serve a large number of patients from the region and the noble couple who had contributed to its creation.

The leaders in Contact lens manufacture and its practice/usage join hands for an enlightening session

Sankara Nethralaya conducted a unique contact lens educational program in collaboration and support from Bausch and Lomb in Kolkatta for the practicing Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and other eye care professionals.  The program is named “B+Lieve”. The objective of “B+Lieve” is to provide opportunity to the practicing professionals to interact with the subject experts during a one day program on various topics which will help them enhance their practice and take it to the next level of expertise.

The program was a great success with nearly 100 delegates filling the hall by 8.30a.m itself on a Sunday morning 30th September. The program was lined up with interesting topics including tear film dynamics and contact lens wear, soft contact lens materials, Contact lens wear with digital device use, and a live demonstration and lectures on multifocal fitting, mini scleral and scleral lens fitting.  Distinguished faculty from various fraternity of optometry, Optom and Professor Mr.Jayanta Bhattacharya, IACLE Director of Educational Programs, Mr.Nilesh Thite, Mr. Khem Raj Nackwal, Professional service manager B+L, Optom Ms.Puja Banerjee Optom SN kolkatta, Optom Mr. Indranil from B+L Regional Professional service person from Kolkatta and Dr.Rajeswari Mahadevan Head of contact lens department at SN delivered interesting the lectures.

The session included interesting panel discussion conducted by Mr.Khemraj, Professional services head Bauch+Lomb, about contact lens care. The panel included optometrist practicing optometrist and Head of  from Chain optical outlets , independent practitioners, educationists and researchers which made it very lively and to spell out need of the hour points on lens care. The feedback about program was very good and delegates showed the interest more of such programs along with hands on workshops. The Kolkatta optometry team headed by Ms.Payel , contact lens team  and Bausch + Lomb team made this event very successful by organising things in a timely manner.

An ascetic from the Ramakrishna Order inspires and educates members of SN on the nation’s 72nd Independence Day.

The Sankara Nethralaya family celebrated the nation’s 72nd Independence Day with great patriotic fervour, the presence of Swamy Vimurthananda, an eminent spiritualist and speaker from the Ramakrishna Order as the chief guest added to the nationalistic spirit of the day. The celebrations started with a soulful rendering of Muhammad Iqbal’s timeless patriotic song ‘Saare Jahan Se accha’ by students of the Sankara Nethralaya Academy. It was a day of great learning and retrospection for members of the Sankara Nethralaya family as the accomplished speaker from the Ramakrishna Mission, Chennai, well known for his role in bringing out the in-house journal of the Mutt and his exhaustive relief work among leprosy patients, gave a spirited talk touching on the worldly and spiritual aspects of life, in the true tradition of the Ramakrishna Order. The Swamiji observed that being a part of the Independence Day celebrations at Sankara Nethralaya was always a great pleasure as the institution observed it as a day of national importance and a day of acknowledging and rewarding the quality and service orientation of its employees.

The Swamiji compared Sankara Nethralaya as a large tree with strong roots in terms of its ethics, tradition, service and quality, well embedded into the nation’s psyche which made it a strong tree that will not fall easily. Underlining Swamy Vivekananda’s lines for renunciation from worldly pleasures and exhorting every citizen to be a giver and a contributor, he observed that he saw Sankara Nethralaya as a ‘Celebration of sacrifice’ with the spirit of service exhibited by everyone from the senior most doctor to the sweeper who kept the place clean. Complimenting the institution on its consistent overall growth he highlighted the Master’s emphatic call to realize one’s spiritual strength as the only way to realizing one’s goals and reaching greater heights in worldly and spiritual growth.

The Swamiji recalled the historic speech of Swami Vivekananda at the ‘Parliament of the World’s Religions’ at Chicago in year 1893 where he most poignantly addressed the gathering as ‘brothers and sisters of America’ which had an electrifying effect on the audience, his prophetic address in year 1897 where he referrd to the great change that would come after 50 years which was proved right with India gaining independence in year 1947. Swami Vimurthananda highlighted that Swami Vivekananda’s soul stirring speeches and the Bhagvad Gita became the clarion call and guiding words for the great men and women who fought for the nation’s freedom. The erudite scholar and orator concluded his absorbing and educative talk with a fervent appeal to the Government of India to honour Dr SS.Badrinath with the nation’s highest civilian award the ‘Bharat Ratna’ in recognition of the selfless service that he and his institution have rendered to society.

The day witnessed the honouring of the ‘Best employee’ (Man) and ‘Best employee’ (Woman) of the year and acknowledging and rewarding  of employees for their period of service, good performance, awards for the best department, sports awards, educational grants for children of employees etc.

A very special facility for a very special group is inaugurated by a very special person!

Special Children ClinicThe 1st of August 2018 marked yet another critical step towards better ophthalmic diagnosis and treatment of children for an institution which could be credited with starting an exclusive paediatric ophthalmology unit and extending specialized diagnosis and treatment to this delicate segment. The day marked the inaugural of the ‘Special Children Clinic’ a special facility with suitable infrastructure and processes within the department to effectively examine a large sub-group among this category of paediatric patients. Broadly termed as ‘Special Children’ they consisted of children with vision problems effected by various mental and physical disabilities, children who cannot express themselves the way normal kids do and hence cannot be subjected to regular paediatric ophthalmic examination that work for normal children, children who need special attention and functional assessment.

The ‘Special Children Clinic’ being opened had been a long time dream of the institution and having the facility inaugurated by Professor Peter Allen made it a case of ‘right man in the right place opening the right facility’ to quote the words of Dr. Jameel Rizwana Hisaindeen, HOD - Binocular vision/ Vision therapy clinic, Sankara Nethralaya,  a key architect of the facility. Dr. Viswanathan S. HOD, Optometry and Optical services, Sankara Nethralaya, an expert in Myopia and another moving force behind the formation of the clinic introduced the star speaker of the day Dr Peter Allen, Professor of Optometry and Visual Sciences, Head of Visual Function and Physiology Research Group, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

The chief guest’s oration on the topic ’Management of Visual issues in Dyslexia & Sports Vision’ proved to be a cascade of facts by the unrivalled expert in the field. Dr Allen explained the difficulties faced by ‘Special Children’ in reading, writing and spelling, he spoke in length on conditions like dyslexia which is neurological in origin, phonological issues that make recognizing letters difficult, the expert spoke on the causes, prevalence and care giving to such patients, adding that such challenges were often misinterpreted as a sign of low IQ while intelligence had little to do with it and often such ‘Special Children’ were quite intelligent. He underlined that while in the UK such conditions were screened/diagnosed by a psychologist, the same could be better managed if perceived as a multi factorial issue which needs a multidisciplinary approach combining the expertise of a child psychologist, special teacher, paediatric ophthalmologist and optometrist. He explained that while Binocular stress and visual instability could be typical optometric manifestations among the effected segment other typical symptoms could be reading difficulty, eye fatigue, constant rubbing of the eyes by the child, need to bring the written matter close to the eyes while reading and poor concentration, he added that such patients often exhibited optometric anomalies like absence of strabismus, squint, lack of evidence of decongested heterophoria, absence of convergence insufficiency, hence the issue needed an individualized, evidence based approach involving clinical optometry and clinical trials.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Rizwana acknowledged the role of world famous Geneticist Dr Kumaramanickavel and Ms Kalpa Negiloni, Senior Research Optometrist at Sankara Nethralaya and lecturer at the Elite School of Optometry in the inception of the clinic. She recalled that the deliberation at EIVOC 2010 and 2016 laid the early seeds to the formation of the facility.

Dr Namita Jacob working with several national & international organizations in the areas of sensory impairments, multiple disabilities & early childhood development was the special guest of the function, hailed the new initiative as a ‘Fantastic Thing’ describing it as a boon for kids with autism, down’s syndrome and other conditions, she said that the facility being inaugurated was her dream since year 2003 and it was her good fortune that she met people like Dr. Kumaramanickavel and Dr Krishna Kumar, Principal, Elite School of Optometry who empathized with her cause and shared her concern for this group’s special needs. The critical role of Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan, Senior Consultant, Paediatric Ophthalmology dept, Sankara Nethralaya as the guru and guide to the forming of the institution and the person who raised the necessary funds for starting the facility were recalled with gratitude at the inaugural of the special facility where paediatric ophthalmologists and paediatric optometrists would join hands in dispensing ‘special eye care’ to ‘Special children’