“Punar Nethra” – a one stop guide to parental training for children with Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI)

Why: Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) is a brain-based visual condition. It is becoming one of the leading causes of pediatric visual impairment in developing countries due to improved neonatal care resulting in increased survival of children with birth-related complications. Children with CVI could have associated developmental delays and disabilities which makes it very crucial for them to avail early and prompt visual assessment followed by habilitation/rehabilitation based on their visual status. We understood that with COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that came along, children with special needs and their families have been affected to a greater extent from availing these services from therapists in-person. Considering these hardships our multidisciplinary team of the Special children clinic (SCV) and Vision enhancement clinic (VEC) took the initiative to create a Youtube channel to empower, guide, support and train parents and caregivers of children with CVI to carry out the training by themselves at their houses.

What: Children with CVI can have heterogenous clinical presentations varying from just vision-related problems to concurrent disabilities such as delay in motor, speech, hearing, sensory and cognition. This channel contains videos for all age groups, variants and deficits of children with CVI. These videos are prepared and made by Ms. Saranya Sethuraman, head of the department, VEC and Ms. Jannet Philip, graduate research scholar, Elite school of optometry in Tamil and English. The specialty of this channel is that it is made customized based on the individual child’s visual needs and demands. After a comprehensive eye and vision assessment including a detailed functional vision assessment by the ophthalmologist and special children clinic optometrists, the child undergoes a Tele or an in-person consultation with the rehabilitation specialist. Based on their needs and preliminary training, the parents are advised specific videos from which they can ‘learn’ and ‘verify’ their steps and performance at home. Apart from these videos, other training materials and worksheets were shared through WhatsApp and email with the parents.

Conclusion: The main goal of this channel is to reach out to families in need and empower ‘parents’ to be ‘teachers’ for their children with visual difficulties. This initiative helps the parents to be able to provide the children with appropriate guidance with confidence through collaboration with Sankara Nethralaya’s multidisciplinary team, especially with the advent of “Tele-rehabilitation” services at the hospital during COVID-19.

Acknowledgement: A big shout out to the entire team: Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan, senior pediatric ophthalmologist who conceptualized this idea and was the sole reason behind this initiative, Dr Jameel Rizwana Hussaindeen, honorary pediatric consultant optometrist, who has been a constant source of motivation by providing ideas and valuable feedback and Ms. Saranya, Vision Rehabilitation and early intervention specialist, VEC and her team for being an integral part and sharing her expertise in this area. We extend our gratitude to the SN multimedia team for shooting, editing and uploading the videos and finally to the families of SN-CVI patients without whom this would have been impossible. You can also be a part of this initiative by subscribing to the channel and sharing this with friends, families, professionals and mainly with the ones in need of such care, during these uncertain times!

*Written informed consent has been obtained from the patient/parent for the photos

Satadina Svaraarchana – 100 days of Classical and semi-classical music concerts

Satadina Svaraarchana is a unique program of 100 days of Classical and semi-classical music concerts presented on social media through YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp, to raise awareness and funds for Sankara Nethralaya USA. This program was coordinated by Prasad Rani, Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya LA Chapter.

Commencing on Vijaya Dasami, one of the most auspicious festivals in India, Satadina Svaraarchana presented one concert each day and culminated in the 100th day on Friday, 16th April 2021. 108 artists from countries around the world including USA, India, UK, and Australia showcased their artistic talents to raise funds for indigent patients. The age of the performers ranged from 7 years to 70 years with 70% of the participants being women and girls. Around 50% were children and young adults – a great sign that the next generation is also equally engaged in learning classical art forms like music.

Over 20,000 viewers viewed, offered encouragement for the concerts on social media, and donated to bring light to a poor patient’s life. 100 percent of the comments on YouTube were positive in nature.

Last but not the least, two of the performers are worthy of special mention:

Ms. Pervela, born with a serious medical condition that confines her to bed, has not allowed her health to prevent her from following her passion for music. She performed her concert for this event, all the songs, from the confines of her bed.

Ms Yellapragada, with a rare skin condition that prevented her from stepping out of her home, and could not even attend the regular school, learned music at home through a teacher and was happy to perform the concert for Sankara Nethralaya

Since 2020, when the pandemic shook the world, Sankara Nethralaya USA team have taken up their fundraising activities on social media to increase awareness of the organization among kindhearted people around the world and to raise funds for supporting its cause.

Prasad Rani, coordinator of the event expressed sincere thanks to all the participants who made this program successful. He also thanked Sri Bala Reddy Indurti, President, Sankara Nethralaya USA, for the, the encouragement and support for the logistics and completion of the program.

Bala Indurti thanked the volunteers Prameela Gopu and Rama Shyam Appali for developing beautiful video to showcase all the singers, brand ambassadors and volunteers in Satadinaswararchana 100th day video for streaming to major TV channels TVAsia Telugu, manaTV, manaTV International, SakshiTV, TV5 and US1. Thanks are due to Prasad Rani for dedicating time for this mega project to raise funds to Indigent blind patients in India.

Bala Indurti congratulated and thanked Dr. Girish Rao, President Sankara Nethralaya and the following Sankara Nethralaya USA EC and Board of Trustees for giving video messages and encouraging Prasad Rani and Satadinaswararchana team. Sri S.V. Acharya, President Emeritus Sankara Nethralaya USA, Sri Moorthy Rekapalli, Vice Presdent; Sri Sudhakar Mattu, Secretary; Sri Sowmia Narayan, Joint Secretary; Sri Raja Krishnamurti, Joint Treasurer; Smt Leela Krishnamurthy, Past President; Sri KG Venkata Raman, Past President; Sri Krishnaraj Bhat, BOT; Dr. Raj Modi, BOT; Dr. Bellamkonda Kishore; Dr. Reddy Urimindi, BOT; Sri Srini Vangimalla, BOT; Sri Partha Chakravarthy, BOT; Sri Rajasekhar Aila, BOT; Sri Shankar Setty, BOT; Sri Varad Rajan, BOT; and Nataraja Natyanjali dance director Neelima Gaddamanugu.

Bala Indurti also thanked the following TV channels and the management for providing live streaming and unconditional support.

Srinivasa Ganagoni, CEO TV Asia Telugu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sqOhX9lM0E

Sridhar Chillara, CEO manaTV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5GKAKBgVKQ

Sridhar Chillara, CEO manaTV International: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy9YMqmHFDk

Harish, TV5 North America correspondent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyZOELnXBWM

Simha, SakshiTV, North America correspondent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkle2d6S1IU

Thanks are due to the following Chennai team members Malathi Krishna, Sunita Doss, Theagarajan, Suresh Kumar for all the support to make this program successful.

Thanks are due to Srinivas Rani for sharing the daily updates in Facebook and Whatsapp.

19th DR E VAITHILINGAM MEMORIAL SCIENTIFIC SESSION

 In memory of the late Principal Dr. E. Vaithilingam, Elite School of Optometry (ESO) initiated a national scientific session in 2002 to encourage optometrists and optometry students from all over India to present their research work. This year, the 19th Dr EV Memorial Session was conducted as an online session between March 25th and 28th, 2021. The session focused on the theme “Celebrating Optometry. Optometrists, postgraduate optometry students and fellows of optometry from 47  institutions attended the session. The events were live streamed in YouTube and Facebook. The four days session had almost 2000 views in the YouTube alone.

The inaugural session started with welcome address by Dr. Anuradha, Principal, Elite school of Optometry. Dr T S Surendran, Vice- Chairman, MRF shared his fond memories about Dr EV. Dr. Girish S Rao, President, Medical Research Foundation gave a special address.  Dr Rashima, Scientific Committee shared the overview of the sessions. Dr Premnandhini, and Dr Shrikant Bharadwaj, LVPEI and alumni of ESO shared their thoughts about Dr E Vaithlingam. Scientific sessions started with a guest lecture on “National Education Policy and changes required in optometric education” which was delivered by Dr. Krishna Kumar, former Principal, ESO. The key note lecture was given by Ms. Jude Stern, Head of Knowledge Management, International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) & Ms. Jissa James Knowledge Manager, IAPB on “Role of Optometrists in delivering World Report on Vision”. The session also featured key optometric focus areas on “Allied Health care professions bill and readiness of optometric education and practice” by Ms Lakshmi Shinde, CEO, Optometry Council of India, “Role of Community optometrist in Glaucoma management” by Dr Subash Sukumar, Glaucoma consultant, Manchester eye hospital, UK and “Roles of Optometrists in managing concussions” by Dr Aparna Raghuram, Boston Children eye hospital and Asst. Professor, Harvard Medical College. An exclusive workshop on “Developing and Evaluating an International Virtual Grand Round” was conducted in collaboration with ESO-SN and Deakin University, Australia by Prof James Armitage, Ms Amanda Edgar, Dr N Anuradha, Dr Viswanathan and Mr Praveen Kumar. The research journey of ESO was compiled and presented as a video by the organizing team and the post graduate students

This year’s scientific session witnessed 17 oral presentations and 54 e posters that were selected from the 300 plus submissions. There were almost 700 comments received for the e-posters that were compiled and shared with the participants. Feedback for better scientific submissions were shared by the internal and seven external judges. This was immediately shared to the participants as a video. There were contests on 4 key areas of optometric practice, education, community rotations, clinical practice and research. There were around 150 submissions to the contests.  The details about the winners of the scientific session are shared below. The organizing and scientific committee of the EVM share their heartfelt gratitude to the participants and the well-wishers for their overwhelming support.

Great works start with a small beginning. This scientific journey of ESO as the Dr E V Memorial Scientific Sessions will remain and grow as a platform for scientific deliberations with the blessings of Mahaperiyava.

Details of winners of the 19th Dr E Vaithilingam Memorial Scientific Session:

Best Oral PresentationRegularMs Vijay Reena Durai, LVPEI
Best Oral PresentationStudentMs Sangeetha Nagarajan, ESO
Best PosterRegularMs Jacinth Priscilla J, LVPEI
Best PosterStudentMs Maanasi Mahalingam, ESO
Contest winners
EducationMs Evneet Kaur, ESO
CommunityMs Kalaiyarasi. ESO
ClinicianMs Akshaya Balakrishnan, ESO
ResearchMs Swetha, ESO

Newsweek announces Sankara Nethralaya one of the World’s Best Hospitals 2021

Newsweek announces Sankara Nethralaya one of the World’s Best Hospitals 2021. Such worldwide recognition would not be possible without our ophthalmologists, nursing staff, donors, and our patients who travel from all around India and the World because they believe in our quality of care. We reaffirm our promise to serve the community and work against avoidable blindness.

100 Days of Kuchipudi Dance performance by Nataraja Natyanjali

Nataraja Naatyanjali dance academy guru Smt. Neelima Gaddamanugu celebrated the 100 days of Kuchipudi dance performance on February 10, 2021. Sankara Nethralaya Atlanta team requested Neelima garu to present 100 days online streaming program to promote the cause during the pandemic. 90 students performed from academy performed for 100 days marathon event. We are deeply grateful to Neelima for dedicating herself to the noble cause.

How this event started? Bala Reddy Indurti asked Neelima Gaddamanugu, is it possible to perform 100 days online video performance with her Nataraja Natyanjali Atlanta students during the pandemic to promote the Sankara Nethralaya cause. Neelima accepted the challenge and made this possible with her 90 students. Atlanta team led by Bala Indurti, Moorthy Rekapalli are in touch with academy to make sure daily streaming events are performed seamlessly.

The students of Nataraja Natyanjali Dance Academy have enthusiastically taken part in this record-breaking fundraising effort for needy patients. Smt. Neelima Gaddamanugu has been teaching Kuchipudi from 2003 and her academy has been officially registered since 2008 in Atlanta, GA, USA.

Smt. Neelima Gaddamangu teaches the Vempati School of Kuchipudi classical dance form. Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam was an exponent and guru of the Kuchipudi dance form. He systemized Kuchipudi, giving it a more classical basis, and popularising the Kuchipudi dance form all over the world. The encouragement of the parents, relatives, friends, volunteers of those who participated was invaluable in making this charitable fundraiser a great success. Neelima’s guru Narayana Murthy Dandibhotla is a student of Padma Bhushan late Vempati Chinna Satyam.

Sankara Nethralaya President Dr. Girish Rao, and Sankara Nethralaya USA EC members President Emeritus S. V. Acharya, President Bala Reddy Indurti, Vice President Moorthy Rekapalli, Treasurer Banumathi Ramakrishnan, Jt Secretary Sowmi Narayan, Past President Leela Krishnamurthy and trustees Dr. Reddy Urimindi, Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Prasad Rani, Meher Lanka, Upendra Rachupally, Ramesh Chaparala and others – Neelima’s Guru Smt Mythili Prabhakar, Telugu Film Director V.N. Aditya, Kalavani Dance Academy Guru Padmaja Kelam and Maitri Atlanta founder Viju Chiluveru extended their appreciations to Nataraja Natyanjali guru Smt Neelima Gaddamanugu for completing successful 100 days dance program.

Sankara Nethralaya volunteer from New Jersey Prameela Gopu worked to compile all the messages and videos to present to the TV channels. She has also worked closely with Padma Shri Dr. Shobha Raju classical music concert in the past on the technical side. The live telecast of the finale of the 100 Days of Naatyanjali included a special video on Mobile Eye Surgical Unit and video clippings of Padma Bhushan Dr. S. S. Badrinath, Nani Phalkiwala (Jurist), Sri Amitabh Bachchan (Actor), Sri Saurav Ganguly (Cricketer), and Sri Madhavan (Actor).

Sankara Nethralaya team extended special thanks to TVAsia Telugu channel CEO and member of our Board of Trustees Srinivas Ganagoni, TV5 USA and manaTV CEO Sridhar Chillara, and SakshiTV North America correspondent Simha Hanumantu. 100 days event youtube links from major TV channels are below:

TV Asia Telugu: https://youtu.be/Nsm9sB_gSbY

ManaTV: https://youtu.be/OGCpXPSlx9o

TV5: https://youtu.be/olbxj2G1oV8

Event is also live telecasted in social media Facebook, YouTube and www.sankaranethralayausa.org website.
Thanks to Chennai team Theagarajan, Suresh Kumar and Sunita Doss for their continued support.

Sri Srinivasa Sankara Nethralaya Trust (SSSN), Tirupati – End of An Era

Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai is saddened to announce that we are no longer associated with Sri Srinivasa Sankara Nethralaya Trust (SSSN), Tirupati.  Sankara Nethralaya had operated under the Sri Srinivasa Sankara Nethralaya Trust (SSSN), Tirupati established by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) as a not-for-profit charitable trust since 2009 until 30th Jan 2021.

When Dr. S. S. Badrinath, our founder, had visited Tirupati to receive Darshan he happened to meet the then chairman of TTD at the sanctum sanctorum. This serendipitous meeting gave Sankara Nethralaya the opportunity to serve a divine purpose by providing free eye healthcare at the TTD central hospital.  TTD provided their premises, the SSSN Trust funded the infrastructure necessary for a quality eye care facility, and Sankara Nethralaya’s ophthalmologists, optometrists, anesthetist and non-medical staff served the patients.

During our decade of compassionate service, Sankara Nethralaya examined more than 2 lakh patients, performed Cataract surgery for nearly 21,000 patients and 42,000 patients underwent special investigations / procedures. 

At SSSN, our experienced ophthalmologists provided comprehensive Ophthalmic outpatient services along with inpatient services such as cataract surgeries, special diagnostic / therapeutic treatment such as Fundus Fluorescein Angiography (FFA); Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT); Laser for Posterior segment diseases; and YAG laser, injections, etc. as ophthalmic centre was equipped with two state-of-the-art operation theatres with the latest microscopes, phaco-emulsification systems & autoclaves.  Patients were accommodated in separate wards for male and female patients and received the best care.

Through the SSSN Trust, Sankara Nethralaya carried on the practice of providing free meals and stay at the hospital for patients in need.  This helped many poor patients to seek quality eye healthcare even though they did not have money for food or for a stay in hospital.

Sankara Nethralaya also conducted outreach programs for the people staying in and around Tirupati included rural eye screening camps, screening school children for eye disorders, and Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) camps.  These screening camps took comprehensive eye healthcare to the doorsteps of those who were unable to travel.  The MESU enabled at least 900 surgeries to be performed throughout the rural and tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh with TTD’s support.

Sankara Nethralaya provided our expertise in Hospital Management System (HMS) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system free of cost and SSSN was benefitted enormously as inpatient and outpatient processes were quicker due to our meticulous record-keeping.

Due to changes in TTD’S policies, the Medical committee proposed merging all Trusts under the “PRANADHANAM Trust”.  Accordingly, Sri Srinivasa Sankara Nethralaya Trust is being dissolved and Sankara Nethralaya has accepted the decision of the board.  We are humbly thankful to the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams Board, Executive Officer, Joint Executive Officers, Chief Medical Officer, Special Medical Officer, and all the employees of TTD for their untiring support all through the years.

Sankara Nethralaya is immensely indebted to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams for giving us the opportunity to serve the pilgrims, the employees of TTD and their families, the people of Tirupati and the regions nearby.

We bid farewell with a sense of profound loss to an era of serving humanity under the will of Lord Venkateshwara.  We thank the TTD and people of Tirupati for the love and support our hospital received while serving the community, and enabling us to provide quality ophthalmic healthcare with the divine blessings of Lord Venkateshwara.  We await the day when we will be called on to serve at the Lotus Feet of Lord Venkateshwara again.

27th Aradhana of Sri Maha Periyava and Awards Presentation – 2021

On 12th January 2021, after almost a year, the 27th Aradhana of Sri Maha Periyava was held at 5:00 pm in Sankara Nethralaya’s Sri. V. D. Swami Auditorium. Ms. Alamelu compered the evening’s events, which was a refreshing beginning to the New Year, as the pandemic restrictions prevented social gatherings in 2020.

The event was opened with the auspicious Veda Gosham, followed by the Welcome Address and a short introduction to Sankara Nethralaya and Sri Maha Periyava by Ms. Anuradha, Principal, Elite School of Optometry. Following this, Archanai and Aarti to Sri Maha Periyava were performed. Mr. Raghunathan, a retired government employee gifted a painting he had rendered of Sri Maha Periyava to Sankara Nethralaya, which was received by Dr. T. S. Surendaran. The lifelike painting will be hung in Vision Enhancement Clinic, Shenoy Nagar.

Ms, Alamelu then called on Dr. A. R. Anand, Vidyasagar Institute of Biomedical Technology and Science (VIBS) In- Charge to present the Ph. D awardees for the year 2020. VIBS was established in October 2006 with a generous donation by Late Padmashri Iravatham Mahadevan, in memory of his elder son, the late Vidyasagar.

The Ph. D program, one of the most important in the VIBS portfolio, is affiliated to four national universities i.e.  SASTRA University, Thanjavur; the Tamilnadu Dr. M. G. R. Medical University, Chennai; Anna University, Chennai; and Alagappa University, Karaikudi. The degrees were presented by Mr. G. Ramachandran, Honorary Secretary, Medical Research Foundation.

Over the past 20 years, 67 Ph.Ds. from SN are established all around India and the world too! Since July 2019 and June 2020, SN produced 6 Ph. D awardees, under SASTRA University, Thanjavur. Currently, 18 students are studying in the Ph. D. Programme; 2 have submitted their final Ph. D. thesis; one is in the process of submission, and 15 students are undergoing Ph. Ds.

Mr. Ravikanth Danda, received the “Doctor of Philosophy” for his Ph.D. thesis entitled “Identification of Novel therapeutic target molecules in Retinoblastoma.”  He completed his Ph. D on 12th December 2019.  He is presently a CSIR Research Associate at CCMB, Hyderabad.  His supervisor, Dr. S. Krishnakumar, Professor and Head of L & T Ocular Pathology department, accompanied him to the stage.

Mr. Anand Babu completed his Ph.D. thesis entitled “Role of paraoxonase in oxidized LDL – Mediated Pathogenesis of age related molecular degeneration (AMD): in vivo studies in AMD patients and in vitro studies in human retinal pigment epithelial cells” on 17th February 2020. He is currently a research scientist at the Dr. MGR Educational and Research Institute, Chennai. His supervisor was Dr. N. Angayarkanni, Professor and Head of R. S. Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & cell biology, Supervisor.

Mr. Ravikanth Danda and Mr. Anand Babu gave their valedictorian speeches and thanked everyone who inspired them including their Ph. D. supervisors, and Sankara Nethralaya.

Mr. Amit Chatterjee’s Ph. D was received on his behalf by his guide, Dr. J. Narayanan, Associate Professor of Nanobiotechnology department. Mr. Amit’s thesis “Understanding the mechanism of cell penetrating peptide using kerataconus epithelium as clinical model” was completed on 28th September 2020.

Three awardees were awarded their Ph. Ds in absentia- Dr. S.Muthukumaran completed his Ph. D. on 20th July 2020 under SASTRA deemed-to-be University, Thanjavur. He is presently at the clinical bioinformatics division, Anderson Diagnostics, Chennai. His guide is Dr. V. Umashankar, Faculty of Centre for Bioinformatics.

Dr. Bhavna S. Rao completed her Ph. D on 3rd August 2020 Under SASTRA deemed-to-be University, Thanjavur. She is a freelance scientific language editor at TNQ, Chennai. Her guide is Dr. N. Soumittra, Faculty of SN ONGC Department of Genetics & Molecular Biology.

Dr. P. Karthikka completed her Ph. D on 5rd August 2020 under SASTRA deemed-to-be University, Thanjavur. Her guide is Dr. C. Subbulakshmi, Faculty of R.S.Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & cell biology.

Those who were unable to be present at the ceremony joined virtual and shared their memorable experiences and joy of working and studying at an exceptional institution like Sankara Nethralaya.

The next part of the ceremony was the institutional awards including the certificates or medals, and cash prizes. Dr. Smita Praveen, Director – Academics, MRF gave a short introduction of the significance of the institutional awards and called on Mr. G. Ramachandran, Hon. Secy., and Dr. T. S. Surendran, Vice Chairman, MRF to present the awards.

Mr. G. Ramachandran presented Dr. Sudharshan S. with the Smt Sreerangamma N Narayana and Endowment Award for best scientist working on infectious diseases, along with a cash prize.

The Smt.Radhamani N. Anantha Endowment Award for best scientist working on infectious diseases, accompanied by a cash prize went to Dr. Mamta Agarwal.

Dr. T. S. S presented the following awards:

Swarnalata Punshi Award for Best Research Fellow went to Dr. Sneha Giridhar, along with a cash prize.

The Swarnalata Punshi prize Award for Best Research Worker (medal, certificate, and cash prize) to Ms. Ramya. R.

The Ruby Banik Memorial Award for Best Research in Clinical Sciences in Ophthalmology Award and cash prize was received by Ms. Najiya. S. K.

The Prof. S. Krishnamoorthy Rao Memorial Award for Best Outgoing PhD went to Dr. Ravikanth Danda, along with a gold medal + certificate.

The Dr. S. Ramakrishnan Endowment for Best Outgoing Post-Graduate of Diploma in Ophthalmology was received by Dr. Ramya G.

Dr. Merin Jacob received the Sri. K. Vasanth Madhavan Memorial Award instituted by Mrs K Saraswathi for Best Outgoing Post Graduate student of Diplomate of National board of Examinations.

Dr. Mythri K Rao received the Dr. Kantimathynathan Endowment Medal instituted by Dr. Jagan Nathan for Best Post Graduate DNB candidate in Neuro Ophthalmology.

Dr. Pallavi Goel and Dr. Mehta Parth Kirit were presented with the Ms. DivyaChaturvedi Endowment Award for Best Outgoing Diploma in Ophthalmology student in Uvea.

A Certificate of Merit – Chief Resident was presented to Dr. Mythri K Rao by Dr. T. S. S. The second recipient was Dr. Damisetti Anjali Gopalakrishna.

The Jayaben Chamanlal Shah Endowment award for Best Outgoing Sub Specialty Fellow was presented to Dr. Aanchal Agarwal virtually. She thanked everyone and said the guidance of her instructors and teachers were vital to showing her and fellow students the way, helping them reach their goals.

Dr. Smriti Jain too received her awards virtually. She received both the Dr. V T Doshi Memorial award for Best outgoing Vitreo Retinal Fellow – Award and the Indian Society for Prevention of Blindness Endowment Award for Best Lady Fellow in Vitreo Retinal Sub-specialty. She thanked Dr. AVS ma’am and the teaching staff at JCOC and the sub-speciality teachers who guided her throughout her time at SN.

At the close of the ceremony, everyone present paid their respects and offered flowers to Sri Maha Periyava.

Blessed Visit of 46th Azhagiyasingar of Ahobila Mutt

His Holiness, Srimathe Srivan Satakopa Sri Ranganatha Yateendra Mahadesikan, the 46th Azhagiyasingar of Ahobila Mutt visited Sankara Nethralaya’s Dr. V.G. Appukutty campus on 3rd January 2021.  He was shown around the premises comprising the C. U. Shah Sankara Nethralaya, The SN Academy, Elite School of Optometry, and Jaslok Community Ophthalmic Centre.  Dr. Girish Rao, President, and Dr. Rajesh accompanied the Swamigal on his tour.

The event started with an invocation by Mrs. Vidya Thirumalai, one of Sankara Nethralaya’s well-wishers.  Colonel Raghavan, Advisor – Projects, welcomed His Holiness on behalf of Dr. S. S. Badrinath and Dr. (Mrs.) Vasanthi Badrinath, and Sankara Nethralaya family members.  Col. Raghavan also wished everyone present a Happy New Year.  Dr. T. S. Surendaran and Dr. Girish Rao, President, honoured His Holiness with ceremonial tributes.

His Holiness blessed the gathering and recollected that Dr. S. S. B performed a cataract surgery on his spiritual guru Sri Maha Periyava Sri Chandrasekerendra Saraswathi Swamigal. Dr. S. S. B’s name spread gaining renown due to this. He recalled Sri Maha Periyava’s blessing that as long as the sun and moon shone, Sankara Nethralaya would bloom and serve humanity.  His Holiness also recounted Jayendra Sarswathi Swamigal’s call to Dr. S.S.B to found an institution in the service of India’s poor.  He extolled the efforts and sacrifices of those who served the cause of bringing vision to the poor and needy.  Service is a boon to society and we should encourage the practice amongst ourselves.  His Holiness appreciated and blessed Dr. Girish Rao in continuing our founder’s mission to serve society.  His Holiness blessed the institution, employees, and the students to take the vision forward for many decades.

Dr. Rajesh offered the vote of thanks and expressed his gratitude to His Holiness who stayed to bless everyone present individually.

TSNA Netra Vidya Series

The Netra Vidya learning platform was launched and initiated by The Sankara Nethralaya Academy in 2014 to impart knowledge and skills to budding optometrists, optometry students, and experienced practitioners to up-skill and reskill themselves and keep themselves updated about the best evidence-based practices in clinical practice. During the pandemic situation in 2020, it was restructured as a virtual lecture series to deliver Optometry programs. The Sankara Nethralaya Academy and the BV/VT team of SN ushered in the Netra Vidya series on 16th September with a four-part series of online lectures and tutorials aimed at educating and upgrading young and upcoming optometrists on the nuances and best practices to successfully run an Orthoptics practice.

The chosen topics intended to cover basic binocular vision, vergence and accommodation assessments, interpretation, a correlation between the clinical parameters and diagnosis in NSBVA (non-strabismic binocular vision anomalies) along with management and vision therapy practices. On 16th September 2020, Dr. Rizwana initiated the BV series with a motivational talk to youngsters on the topic “To the Optometry class of 2020”. The talk was well-received and set the tone for the subsequent academic sessions that commenced on 19th September 2020 and concluded on 17th October 2020.

On 19th September, the first part of the four-part series began with a two-hour session by the Binocular team of SN headed by Dr. Rizwana, in which they took the participants through an interactive case discussion in which the participants were asked to analyse and solve various problem-oriented cases that are common in strabismic practice. The trouble-shooting skills were enhanced for the 100 plus participants who found the systematic approaches to problem solving very helpful.

On 25th September Prof. Mitchell Scheimann, celebrated author and currently ‘Dean of Research, Director of Graduate studies and renowned faculty at Salus University, USA, conducted the second session in which he deconstructed the Clinical testing of Strabismus into a simple two-step frame work. He also dealt with understanding the prognosis for strabismus treatment based on clinical assessment in great detail. The session had close to 170 participants from various parts of India and abroad. Seeing the enthusiastic response from the participants, the BV core team Dr. Rizwana, Mr. Praveen Kumar, Ms. Ayisha Atiya, and Mr. Amit Bhowmick took the participants through a special session on basics of Vision Therapy on 10th of October 2020. This session was open only to those participants who had registered for all the three core sessions.

The much awaited concluding session by Dr. Susan Cotter was conducted on the topic “Prescribing prisms in primary eye care practice- Tips and Tricks”. Dr. Cotter, a Professor of Optometry at Marshall B Ketchum University and author of many peer-reviewed publications on Paediatric Optometry and strabismus, simplified the art of prescribing prisms and encouraged the young optometrists to prescribe prisms for strabismic patients. More than 170 participants attended the concluding session by Dr. Cotter.

Some Testimonials from the participants

“Excellent lectures”
“Lectures were very easy to comprehend”
“Got all doubts clarified”
“Videos and pragmatic lectures made the sessions more interesting”
“I really appreciate the session, the way it was conducted as it was interactive and gave opportunity for case discussion as groups using Zoom breakout rooms”
“It is an excellent platform, great group, please keep continuing in making us learn happy”
“The lecture series was really a great opportunity for learning, thank you – the entire team and their hard work behind it”.

Dr. Rizwana Becomes President of The Optometric Association of Tamil Nanbargal (OATN)

The Optometric Association of Tamil Nanbargal (OATN) has unanimously nominated and chosen Dr. Jameel Rizwana Hussaindeen (Head, Binocular Vision clinic, Sankara Nethralaya) as the upcoming President for the next tenure.

The OATN, established in 2011, aims to strive for the recognition and regulation of the Optometry profession & education. It has been established as the legal association for Tamil Nadu Optometry since 2012. The association has 500+ members and counting, including life members and student members, from across Tamil Nadu. OATN has served as a great source of support to the Optometry community through dissemination of knowledge, and hands-on training through conferences, seminars, and workshops. The association also volunteers to support NGOs to provide eye and vision care to the needy, deserving, and for individuals with vision impairment. The association conducts strong lobbying to facilitate the passing of the AHP bill that would immensely benefit the Optometry community.

OATN also provides support to young graduates and job seekers through its massive networking channels. The legacy of this association was greatly supported by its Founding President Mr. Singaravelu, who was then followed by Mrs. Poongothai and now Dr. Jameel Rizwana Hussaindeen, Sankara Nethralaya will step into this illustrious position.

The Sankara Nethralaya family congratulates Dr. Rizwana wishing her and the association to reach greater heights under her leadership.