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Senior Sankara Nethralaya Consultants honoured with a globally respected and highly prestigious professional recognition in the world of Medicine

Being conferred with a ‘Fellowship by the Royal College of Surgeons’ is considered as the world’s highest professional qualification for Surgeons the world over, this highly prestigious recognition conferred by the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, Ireland, England and Glasgow, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and advancement in surgical practises, through their involvement in education, training, conducting examinations and liaison with medical institutions worldwide. This high recognition is also a prerequisite to practise as a senior surgeon in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

It is with a sense of great pleasure and pride that we share with all of you that Dr L.Vijaya, Distinguished Senior Consultant at the Glaucoma Department and Dr Pukhraj Rishi, Senior Consultant at the Vitreo-Retina department, Sankara Nethralaya have been identified for being honoured with this most coveted Fellowship by the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh). They will be conferred with the title ‘Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh)’ at a future date to be announced by the membership director of the body.

It is a great feather in Sankara Nethralaya’s cap as they join their illustrious predecessors Dr SS.Badrinath, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Dr TS.Surendran, Vice-Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya and Dr S.Ramasamy, Professor of Anatomy, Elite School of Optometry, who were honoured with this high recognition.

The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its hearty congratulations and good wishes to the recipients.

World’s leading service organization crowns Sankara Nethralaya doctor with its most prestigious award!

It was a moment of great pride and fulfilment for an institution founded on the principles of compassion, love and service with a smile, when the Lions Club International, the world’s premium service, relief and support organization chose to bestow its highest award on a doctor who has been associated with its ‘cost free community services’ from the day it was started.

Dr.Sheila John, one of its long serving doctors and Head of the Department, Teleophthalmology, Multimedia and e-learning was honoured with a ‘Life Time Achievement award’ by the Lions Clubs International. The award citation richly lauded her meritorious service in the ‘Medical field’ and hailed her as a great person who deserves all accolades and commendations for her meritorious and dedicated services and underlined that the award was being presented in recognition of her remarkable services.

It was an unforgettable X’Mas gift for Dr Sheila John as she walked up to the dais to a round of loud applause from the distinguished audience, to receive the award from Lion G.Ramu, Regional Chairperson, Lions Clubs International district 324 A 6, on the 25th of December 2017, at a glittering ceremony held at ‘Hotel Savera’ Chennai to mark the regional meet of Region-9.

Speaking to the corporate communications department Dr Sheila John strongly underlined that the concept of ‘Cost free community services’ to the indigent visually impaired was the brainchild of the illustrious founder and chairman Emeritus of Sankara Nethralaya, Dr SS.Badrinath, adding that the initiative assumed significance since there were few institutions offering, free eye care as an exclusive service and on such a large scale during those times. She recalled with pride that Outreach camps were started by Sankara Nethralaya at Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts in year 1992 and this year marks 25 glorious years of cost free service to the indigent visually impaired through outreach camps. Fondly reminiscing the renting of a building by the institution for its first community hospital at Pammal , a quiet hamlet close to Pallavaram, located at the periphery of the city in 1997, exactly 20 years ago, she recalled that there was an element of uncertainty in terms of financial sustenance of the initiative, since an operation of such magnitude was something that had not been tried in the past and how divine providence came in the form of generous support by the Lions Club, Tulsi Trust and individual philanthropists which made the initiative a huge success with a large number of patients from the nearby villages being dispensed totally cost free eye care, which encouraged many other eye care institutions to emulate the shining example.

The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its hearty congratulations and best wishes to Dr Sheila John for being bestowed with this rare honour and wishes her many more honours and recognitions.

Sankara Nethralaya makes a very special gift to a segment most close to its heart, on a day celebrating the spirit of childhood!

As a leader in eye care, paediatric and children’s eye care has always had a very special place in Sankara Nethralaya’s endeavours towards eliminating blindness. The institution is credited as a pioneer and active player in this branch of ophthalmology, having developed special protocols in the diagnosis and treatment of children. As an institution with a firm belief that preventive eye care is the best form of avoiding blindness, it is well aware that detection/diagnosis and treatment in childhood is a major step in this direction, as eye ailments like most other health issues can be better diagnosed and treated at their early stages.

Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan, a senior consultant of the institution’s paediatric ophthalmology department being chosen to train paediatric ophthalmologists in China under ‘Children’s healthy eyes bring educational reward’ (CHEER) a joint initiative between ICO and ORBIS China chapter, the institution being identified by ORBIS to screen a large number of children in rural parts of India as a part of its goal towards eliminating childhood blindness globally, being accorded a pride of place in the ‘Limca book of records’ for screening the highest number of school children in a single day, are just a few examples of the care and concern that the institution has for this segment and its milestones in the same.

The institution made a very special gift to the segment close to its heart on the 14th of November 2017, being celebrated as ‘Children’s Day’ with a revolutionary solution to ‘Myopia’ or near sightedness, a refractive ailment which is the cause for a disturbingly high percent of vision impairment in this group.  It launched a multi-pronged attack on ‘Myopia’ with the week from the 14th to 18th of November being observed as ‘Myopia Week’ with posters creating awareness on the ailment being displayed in the Paediatric ophthalmology department, a panel discussion by paediatric ophthalmologists, a meeting with parents of children in the vulnerable age group, followed by a press meet to take the message across to the public and an open house screening of children for ‘Myopia’.

Dr. Meenakshi Swaminathan, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Ophthalmology, Dr S.Viswanathan, DGM Optical Services, Sankara Nethralaya, who had recently been honoured with a PhD by the Anglia Ruskin University, UK for his in-depth research on ‘Myopia’ and leading paediatric ophthalmologists from the city enlightened the audience on ‘Myopia’ and steps to keep it at bay or check its progression. The speakers highlighted the age group in which ‘Myopia’ is prevalent, they emphasised that spending more time playing in the outdoors and less  in front of the TV, computer screen, mobile phone and appropriate vision therapy can help in delaying or avoiding its onset. They cautioned that if left unchecked ‘Myopia’ could lead to progressive reduction of vision which would necessitate wearing of glasses that would keep getting progressively thicker every year and on a more serious angle it could lead to more critical eye ailments like cataract, glaucoma and even retinal detachment as the children reached their adulthood.

This was followed by the most awaited event of the day, the launch of ‘Myopin’ a highly effective and proven drug which could delay the onset and progression of ‘Myopia’ among children between 6-12 years, by Dr TS.Surendran, a veteran of Pediatric ophthalmology and Vice Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya. Interestingly the drug whose generic name is ‘Atropine’ is being used with a good degree of success in Singapore and parts of South East Asia but is still not common in the advanced West. The drug to be launched was subjected to stringent tests for efficacy and safety under a study termed ‘ATOM’ (Atropine for the treatment of childhood myopia) by leading institutions like AIIMS etc. It is noteworthy to mention here that the drug which was available largely as a compound, which was formulated on the spot, is being successfully developed as a ready to administer drug and launched in India, thanks to the strong encouragement and initiative taken by Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan, Senior Consultant at the Paediatric ophthalmology department and Director-Academics, Sankara Nethralaya. The drug would be manufactured by Ms Appaswamy Ocular Devices, at their manufacturing unit at Solan, Himachal Pradesh.

This was followed by the most awaited event of the day, the launch of ‘Myopin’ a highly effective and proven drug which could delay the onset and progression of ‘Myopia’ among children between 6-12
years, by Dr TS.Surendran, a veteran of Pediatric ophthalmology and Vice Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya. Interestingly the drug whose generic name is ‘Atropine’ is being used with a good degree of
success in Singapore and parts of South East Asia but is still not common in the advanced West. The drug to be launched was subjected to stringent tests for efficacy and safety under a study termed
‘ATOM’ (Atropine for the treatment of childhood myopia) by leading institutions like AIIMS etc. It is noteworthy to mention here that the drug which was available largely as a compound, which was
formulated on the spot, is being successfully developed as a ready to administer drug and launched in India, thanks to the strong encouragement and initiative taken by Dr Menakshi Swaminathan,
Senior Consultant at the Paediatric ophthalmology department and Director-Academics, Sankara Nethralaya. The drug would be manufactured by Ms Appaswamy Ocular Devices, at their manufacturing unit
at Solan, Himachal Pradesh.

Team from Elite School of Optometry emerge victorious in a high power knowledge and subject matter mastery evaluation

“Ask questions to find out something about the world itself, not to find out whether or not someone knows it” – says John Holt

In the Optometry world, ESO is known for its legacy and leadership. It was time again on the 19th November, 2017 to prove ESO’s quality and competence when the ESO’s Quiz team comprising four Optometry Interns, Mr Jude Remedios Menezes, Ms Mehal Prasan Rathore, Ms Vidhyasri, and         Ms Gowsalya witnessed glorious victory during the Ahalia’s CME program (ACME III) conducted at Palakkad, Kerala.  With participation from 22 Optometry colleges across the country, and 900+ audiences, ACME III had series of guest lectures by eminent Optometry clinicians and researchers. Not to everyone’s surprise, all the speakers were alumni of ESO, currently holding key positions in various institutions across India.

The quiz had preliminary round short listing 7 teams from 30 teams, and ESO made it to the finals by going through the tough prelims. In the Preliminaries, each team was challenged with 3 questions each against the timer of one minute. ESO got into finals despite some nerve-racking moments.

In the Grand Finale of the Quiz, ESO demonstrated a cool and composed lead, and displayed their fine academic spirit. The rounds of Optics, Anatomy, and Ocular Diseases and Clinical examination, being the Quiz master’s favourite hats, ESO emerged victorious taking the first place after four intense rounds. ESO’s team was followed by two teams from Vasan Institute of Optometry, Chennai. The audience and delegates were all in praise for ESO and the team.

The ESO and SN family takes pride in congratulating the students for standing up to ESO’s legacy and wishing them great success in all future endeavours!

Three cheers to ESO!

Pontiff of Sri Raghavendra Swamy Matha showers his blessings on Sankara Nethralaya, for demonstrating the Saint’s teachings through cost free eye care dispensed at his abode

The Mobile Eye Surgical team’s dedicated and compassionate service at the holy abode of Swamy Raghavendra wins the blessings of  His Holiness Sri Subudhendra Teertha Swami Galu the Peetadhipathi of Sri Raghavendra Swami Matha, Mantralayam on the entire Sankara Nethralaya family.

Please click here to view the rare honour

The Sankara Nethralaya family bids a most befitting and emotional farewell to one of its stalwarts!

The evening of Saturday the 4th of November 2017 is sure to go down in Sankara Nethralaya’s collective memory as one of its most poignant moments, the institution was bidding farewell to one of its oldest ‘warriors’ against blindness and members of the Sankara Nethralaya family from across disciplines and levels had gathered in good numbers to pay their tribute and bid goodbye to its 7th oldest employee, a man who personified dedication, sincerity and humility in his 33 years of glorious service.

It was a fascinating journey down the times as speaker after speaker shared their experiences with him, their recollections bringing out the innovator, scientist, teacher, team player and the warm and humble human being that Dr Ian Sundararajan, fondly referred to as ISR was perceived by them. Program presenter Dr Sonali Raman, Senior Consultant, department of anaesthesiology gave the proceedings a vibrant start with her exuberant observation that the period that Dr ISR was associated with Sankara Nethralaya could be called the golden era of anaesthesiology, she captured the involvement and spirit of the man who had made Sankara Nethralaya his first home for 33 long years with a most touching couplet.

Speaking on the occasion senior Consultant and Medical Director Dr Girish Shiva Rao observed that Dr ISR left an indelible mark on whatever he did, with his innovations and resourcefulness, which were nothing short of sensational. Saluting his sterling role, he expressed that Dr ISR was among the few men who left a deep impression on him through his abundant knowledge. Lauding Dr ISR as a hallmark of hard work, he expressed the collective gratitude of all the Surgeons at Sankara Nethralaya who owed their success to his expertise and co-operation. Dr TS.Surendran, Vice-Chairman and Director of Pediatric ophthalmology began his talk with a note that it would be impossible to capture all of what he called the ‘Treasures’ of his association with Dr ISR and that he would recall just a few of them. He described the veteran anaesthesiologist as a man who was constantly reviewing the operation theatre to explore scope for changes, enhancements that could make it a safer and easier procedure for the surgeon and his patient. He recalled the matchless dedication exhibited by Dr ISR during the brief strike by the support staff, when he would personally shift the patients to the anaesthesiology room and back to the OT after being anaesthetised, which ensured that all the 13 surgeries scheduled for him could be performed without a hitch. Beaming with a sense of pride and attachment Dr Lingam Gopal, Senior Consultant at the Vitreo Retina department started his note with an observation that he had the privilege of having the longest association with Dr ISR, he described him as a genial genius who made jaws drop with his innovation, a never say die workaholic who accepted sudden additions to his long patient list for the day with admirable readiness and smile. Dr Lingam Gopal expressed the collective tribute of the surgeons of the Vitreo retina department to the amazing anaesthetist who made their surgeries a great success and his gratitude to a great man who made every one strive for excellence by setting a great personal example.  If Dr ISR was recalled as an amazing anaesthetist, a permanent feature in the operation theatre while the surgeons took their turn, a man of incredible energy levels and confidence who never shied of taking challenging cases in his stride, by Senior Consultants Dr L.Vijaya and Dr Nirmala Subramanian, he was recalled as a calming influence, giving the others in the OT a sense of calmness by his composure and reassuring presence, by Dr Vineet Rathra.  While the OT assistants and maintenance staff hailed him as a warm, simple and patient man who never once lost his temper or been rude to them, the head of patient counselling and education Shri Irungovel highlighted a little known facet of his personality, his ‘poetic skills’. Dr ISR’s daughter, son-in-law and grand children brought out the caring, loving persona in him while Dr Bhanulakshmi from New Zealand wondered aloud if someone could even think of Sankara Nethralaya without Dr ISR and vice versa??

Delivering his acceptance speech a visibly moved Dr ISR started on a highly emotive note that he would serve in Sankara Nethralaya if he were to be born again, he expressed his sincere thanks to Dr SS.Badrinath whom he described as the moving force behind starting and developing ophthalmic anaesthesia as a specialty in India, when it was still unheard of in most eye care centres. He expressed his happiness on the decision to resign from government service and join Sankara Nethralaya that he had taken years ago, as he would have gone unnoticed if he had not done so.

While every speaker of the evening had expressed his/her good wishes for a restful, peaceful and healthy retired life to the veteran who was calling it a day, the observations of the person whom they were bidding farewell seemed to reveal a different agenda, he started off on a couple of strong observations ‘We should develop paediatric anaesthesia as a specialty’, ‘We should share the experience, expertise and knowledge gained by our long years in the practice of ophthalmic anaesthesia and the treatment of a large number of cases,’  ‘Our learning and experience should not go in vain and we should share it with the world by publishing a book’. These were typical Dr ISR observations to those who knew him well, the word ‘We’ in every objective he underlined making the assembled gathering wonder if the irrepressible teacher and anaesthetist was just about to begin another glorious innings for his cherished institution!!

Concert by Classical Singer Yesudas in Support of SN Chennai

The volunteers and Board members of the Sankara Nathralaya OM Trust joined Yesudas on stage after the event. Photos: Venkat Kuttua Photography

The volunteers and Board members of the Sankara Nathralaya OM Trust joined Yesudas on stage after the event. Photos: Venkat Kuttua Photography

MARIETTA, GA: OM Trust-USA, the Maryland-based fund-raising arm of Sankara Nethralaya hospital in Chennai, India, organized a fund-raiser on Sunday, September 17, at Lassiter High School, in Marietta, Georgia. The event included a classical music concert by the renowned musician, Padma Vibushan K. J. Yesudas and the 1,000-seat capacity auditorium filled up hours before the start of the program.

After a welcome speech by Bala Indurti, S. V. Acharya, President of OM Trust, USA spoke about the objectives of the OM Trust and how it had been instrumental in supporting the charitable work of Sankara Nethralaya. He was followed by the event that the audience was eagerly waiting for, the concert by Yesudas and an introduction of the artists.

Read more…

Custodian of Sankara Nethralaya’s knowledge treasure trove wins high acclaim for contribution to his niche field

The 12th of August 2017 was a day of great pride and fulfilment to an institution which had over the years come for praise for making its mark in fields out of its core area. If the NASSCOM awards for ‘Best IT adoption in healthcare sector’ and ‘Best ‘Electronic Medical Record’ came as acknowledgements of its excellent leveraging Information Technology, its unique self sustaining business model won great praise from leading bodies like the American Chamber of Commerce and a high level team of business leaders and students from the Avicenna Leadership Program, Holland, who paid a personal visit to the Sankara Nethralaya main campus for a first hand understanding of the same.

This time it was acknowledgement of its contribution to the field of  ‘Library Science’ by the institution, a valuable contribution made through the long time custodian of  its ‘Medical Library’ the exhaustive literary facility at the institution’s main campus, serving as a  source of knowledge and referral. Shri Shankar Kumar the soft spoken and simple Librarian manning the facility has come under praise several times in the past for his dedication and competence in keeping the decision makers updated of the latest books launched in the various fields branches of basic sciences/life science to ophthalmology and optometry that need to be acquired for the library and his professional assistance to new users in identifying the books they are looking for. A man with a strong passion for his field and a firm belief that the only way to stay well informed and ahead in the field and keep his facility running well would be by continuous acquisition of knowledge and latest trends in the field.

It gives us great pleasure to share with the members of the Sankara Nethralaya family that Shri A.Shankar Kumar was honoured in close succession by two of the nation’s leading associations governing and regulating libraries.  He was bestowed a ‘Certificate of Honour’ and a plaque at the ‘MALA Awards” instituted by the ‘Madras Library Association’ among the oldest and highly prestigious bodies governing the field. The function was held at the IIT-Madras in commemoration of the 125th birth centenary celebration of Padmashree S.R. Ranganathan, well known mathematician and ‘Father of Library Science in India’ on the 12th of August 2017 and was attended by leading publishing houses and dignitaries from Thailand, Netherlands, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The award was presented by Professor Dr.Viswanathan, Former Vice-Chancellor, Anna University in the distinguished presence of Dr. Manorama Srinath, former Professor, Department of Library Science, University of Madras and Professor Parthasarathy (retd).

This was followed by a presentation of a well researched White Paper on a very critical area of Library functioning, titled ‘Information Retrieval System- Sankara Nethralaya Experience’ at the ‘International Conference on ‘Libraries Beyond Borders’ (ICLLB-2017) conducted jointly by the Department of Library Services, Christian Medical College, Vellore and the Library and Information Science Society for Asia and the Pacific’ (LISSAPAC) on the 18th and 19th of August 2017. The white paper was very well received by the attendees and was acknowledged with a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ by the organizers.

Sharing his joy at being recognized by the two leading bodies governing the running of libraries in the nation, a highly moved Shankar Kumar recalled with gratitude that it was Dr. SS.Badrinath and Dr. Vasanthi Badrinath who persuaded him to take up a career in this field and later offered him the position of Librarian at Sankara Nethralaya, when he was serving as a Laboratory Assistant under Dr. Vasanthi Badrinath.  He recalled that he did not have any knowledge on this field or any special fascination for it but they realized his potential and gave him the opportunity to perform and shine in a new field. He had a high word of praise and gratitude for Dr. Muna Bhende, Head of the Library department for her continued guidance and support and Dr Lingam Gopal for his encouragement, he also recalled the encouragement by Dr. Sujal Shah a senior consultant who was serving at the institution during the early days of his career as a Librarian.

Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its Joy and hearty Congratulations to Shri Shankar Kumar on his winning high laurels from the nation’s leading Library governing bodies and wishes him many more years of glorious service and achievements in his field.

Reaching out a hand of compassion and care to the unreached gets its due recognition

Dr Gajendra Kumar Varma, receiving the award from Ms Kiran Bedi, Lt Governor of Puducherry

Dr Gajendra Kumar Varma, receiving the award from Ms Kiran Bedi, Lt Governor of Puducherry

Vista India the publisher of Health & Fashion magazine recognizes outstanding medical professionals who have contributed to society through their service orientation, especially to the socially and economically backward sections of society, with the ‘Mayan Awards’ every year. This year too witnessed the recognition and awarding of eminent doctors from various specialties who had exhibited professional excellence and a spirit of service in discharging their duties. We take great pleasure and pride in sharing that the selection committee chose Dr Rajesh P.S, Senior Consultant and Dr Gajendra Kumar Varma, Associate Consultant, Sankara Nethralaya in recognition of their impeccable service to the indigent visually impaired in the most remote regions of the country, through the ‘Mobile Eye Surgical Unit’ (MESU).

Dr P.S. Rajesh receiving the award from Ms Kiran Bedi, Lt Governor of Puducherry

Dr P.S. Rajesh receiving the award from Ms Kiran Bedi, Lt Governor of Puducherry

The awards were presented in a glittering ceremony held at Hotel Accord, Pondicherry on 2nd July 2017, by Ms Kiran Bedi, Lieutenant Governor, Union Territory of Puducherry. Sankara Nethralaya family lauds the commitment and service spirit of these two doctors which reflects the spirit of service and high standards of the institution they serve.

Nation’s No-1 champion of healthy vision and crusader against blindness honours the man who reflects its values and lives its ideals

Dr RR.Sudhir receives the award from the Hon’ble Minister for State for Health & Family Welfare

Dr RR.Sudhir receives the award from the Hon’ble Minister for State for Health & Family Welfare

‘Vision 2020: The Right to Sight’ the national forum of concerned stakeholders comprising of NGO’s, government bodies and corporate entities, in the forefront of advocacy, knowledge sharing and ensuring best practices, to bring about effective and enhanced eye care delivery honours distinguished individuals who have stood, strived and contributed to its cause and whose efforts have brought about discernible changes to reducing blindness and delivering better eye care. The Indian chapter of Vision 2020, the joint global initiative between the ‘World Health Organization’ (WHO) and the ‘International Association for the Prevention of Blindness’ (IAPB) conferred its highest and most prestigious award ‘VISION 2020: The Right to Sight- INDIA VISIONARY AWARD’ for year 2016 on Dr SS.Badrinath, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Sankar Nathralaya. The awards were presented at the annual conference of Vision 2020 held on the 3rd and 4th June 2017, at the MGM Eye Institute, Raipur, Chhattisgarh and was attended by a large number of eye care professionals and administrators from all over the world. The VISION 2020: The Right to Sight- INDIA VISIONARY AWARD’ award was presented by the Honourable Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste and was received on behalf of Dr SS.Badrinath, by Dr R.R. Sudhir, Senior Consultant Cornea Services, Head Department of Preventive Ophthalmology & Consultant In charge – Electronic Medical Records, Sankara Nethralaya.

The citation accompanying the award highlights the recipient’s phenomenal role in reducing the burden of blindness in the country, initiating high level ophthalmic research, setting high ethical and operational standards in clinical care and administering an ophthalmic institution, adhering to values of transparency, high professional ethics and innovation in eye care delivery. It has an entire paragraph dedicated to the recipient’s role in conceptualizing, developing and operating the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) the institution’s revolutionary operation theater on wheels.

The Sankara Nethralaya family salutes its ‘Chief’ on being conferred this rare honour and reaffirms its dedication and commitment to live up to his dream of a blindness free India.

Click here for the award citation