Lotus Hospital and Research Institute the premium Coimbatore based eye care center celebrated its silver jubilee year with great fanfare, the event was observed as an international conference on retina and uvea titled ‘Eye Trendz- Retina & Uvea 2015’ at the Vivanta by the Taj on the 28th of February and 1st of March 2015 at Coimbatore. The two day conference witnessed the presense and participation of leading national and international ophthalmologists from the fields of uvea and retina. Dr.SS.Badrinath, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya was invited as the guest speaker to deliver the ‘Lotus Oration’ on the momentous occasion. The man whom the institution stepping into its 25th year considers as a ‘Our Teacher and Doyen of Ophthalmology’ took the audience on an interesting 4 decade journey with his talk titled ‘My Journey through VR Surgery’ tracing the eye care scenario from the past to the present, he also announced an ambitious joint initiative between the Lotus Hospital and Research Institute and Sankara Nethralaya in the form of collaborative research in new and enabling technologies in the realm of ophthalmology.
The House of GRT and its founder Shri G.Rajendran have been long time friends of Sankara Nethralaya and hold its founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. SS.Badrinath, in the highest regard; they have risen to the occasion most magnanimously and supported many cost free eye care initiatives most generously. The group has also made a handsome donation towards meeting the cost of constructing an entire floor at the Sri A.Sivasailam block, Sankara Nethralaya’s State of the Art eye care center to be inaugurated soon at the old Lady Willingdon Hospital Campus. A group with a strong commitment to serving the poor and needy, the house of GRT expressed its desire to take quality eye care to the town of Tirutani and its neighbouring villages through eye screening and on the spot cataract surgery enabled by Sankara Nethralaya’s ‘Mobile Eye Surgical Unit’ (MESU), the ground work by the two organizations for the same started in right earnest, well in advance of the camp.
In keeping with the saying ‘do a good thing and many good people will follow you’ the local chapters of well known service organizations like the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Catholic Society of Canada and the Tiruvalur District Blindness Control Society rose to the occasion most admirably and a comprehensive eye screening camp was conducted by Sankara Nethralaya’s outdoor eye care team. The Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) reached the GRT Institute of Engineering Technology at GRT Mahalakshmi Nagar, Tirutani, the venue of the camp on the morning of the 15th of February 2015 and started the eye screening on the same day. The camp was very well received and a total of 796 local people were screened, high quality cataract removal surgery followed by implantation of intra-ocular lens was carried out and vision revived for 155 patients at the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) by the outdoor eye care team, between the 15th and 24th of February 2015. The beneficiaries of the screening camp included the residents of Tirutani town, neighbouring villages and the students and faculty members of the GRT educational institutions.
The ‘Geetham Hall’, GRT Hotel, Tirutani, the venue of the inaugural function was packed to capacity on the 18th of February, Dr SS.Badrinath extended a warm welcome to the gathering and thanked them for the overwhelming response, he introduced the honourable Chief Guest of the day Shri K. Veera Raghava Rao IAS, District Collector, Tiruvallur and thanked him for gracing the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, guest of honour Shri T.V Antony, distinguished civil servant and former Chief Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Government recalled his more than 35 years association with Dr SS.Badrinath. He recalled Sankara Nethralaya which he had seen as a small set up at the time of its inception, adding that it looks like a sprawling university today, he attributed this stupendous growth to the enthusiasm and dedication of Dr SS.Badrinath and Dr. Vasanthi Badinath, remarking in lighter vein that given his agility and energy he would estimate Dr SS.Badrinath to be around 40 years of age, the former Chief Secretary recalled that he remembered the noble couple constantly running for the cause eye care without any rest, from the time he knew them and expressed his amazement that they have not slackened their speed to this day. The former Chief Secretary underlined that 6% of the State’s total population of 50 crores; amounting to a staggering 42 lakhs are visually impaired and it is only through such relief camps conducted in the rural areas that this problem can be solved. Delivering the Chief Guest’s address Shri K.Veera Raghava Rao, IAS, Collector of Tiruvallur observed that he considered it a honour to be a part o f such a noble initiative and share the dais along with stalwarts like Shri T.V Antony, whose illustrious career in Civil Service began even before he was born and Dr. SS.Badrinath whose selfless service to society began when he was a small boy, as the district collector he thanked the organizers for the great initiative being carried out in his district. He recalled the outdoor eye screening camps of Sankara Nethralaya in the earlier days when patients found needing treatment would be taken to the Sankara Nethralaya main hospital and treated and dropped back and complimented the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit as an innovative initiative which has simplified the entire process. He thanked the members of the Rotary, Lions Clubs and Society for Prevention of Blindness, students of the GRT College and the House of GRT for striving hard to make the function a grand success. The chief guest closed his talk with the observation that there was no retirement for service minded people like Dr SS.Badrinath and Shri T.V Antony which is richly illustrated by the fact that they were enthusiastically participating in the day’s event.
A Poster presented by Dr S.Ambika, Senior Consultant and Head of Sankara Nethralaya’s Neuro-Ophthalmology Department was ranked in the 1St place at the ICTRIMS-2015, a high level topical seminar held under the aegis of the Indian Academy of Neurology and the Madras Neuro Trust on the 14th and 15th of February 2015, to update on Neuromyelitis Optica and Multiple Sclerosis and related disorders, the event also witnessed the senior Neuro professional’s contributions as a faculty at the prestigious event being awarded with a certificate of appreciation and acknowledgement by the highly impressed committee members.
Texas based ‘The Foundation For India studies’ (FIS) dedicated to the objective of highlighting and promoting India’s contribution to the world in the field of languages, literature, arts, sciences, engineering, politics, economics and spirituality has embarked on an ambitious initiative titled ‘The Houston Indo-American Oral History Project’ in collaboration with the Houston Public library (HPL) and Houston Community College System (HCCS) to develop a centralized oral history archive on the experiences of first generation Indo-Americans settled in Houston, through first person narratives. The archive would help researchers, educationists, historians better understand the life, experiences and contribution of early settlers from the sub-continent and next generation Indians to trace their roots.
Shri Sam Kannappan and his wife Shrimathi Kannappan among the most prominent, versatile and multifaceted early Indian settlers with a glorious record of contributing both to their motherland and their country of adoption and to fellow American Indians were interviewed as part of this project.
The interview was later covered by ‘Voice of Asia’ the largest Asian American weekly in Texas.
We take great pride and pleasure in sharing the same with our readers.
Click here for the Interview
An in-depth analysis of vascular abnormalities in the eye, illustrated through a series of real time cases, authored by Dr. Nishat Bansal, Research cum Vitreo-Retina Fellow and co-authored by Dr. Muna Bhende, Senior Consultant and Dr. Jaya Prakash.V, Consultant, Vitro-Retinal Services, Sankara Nethralaya and presented as a poster titled ‘Peripheral Polypoidal Choroidal Vasculopathy – A case series’ was selected as the best physical poster and chosen as the winner of the E.T Selvam award for the ‘Best Poster’ at the 73rd All India Ophthalmic Conference held recently at New Delhi.
The 12th edition of the ‘Dr. Nagamani Dharmapuri Endowment Lecture’ dedicated to high level discourse on paediatric ophthalmology and facilitate a vibrant exchange of the latest developments in the field, was observed with great intellectual fervor at the Sri V.D. Swami Auditorium, Sankara Nethralaya main campus on the 14th of February 2015. The presence of such stalwarts of the medical profession like the guest speaker of the day Professor Gerald Shultz, Associate Professor, Loma Linda School of Medicine, California, special invitee Dr. Namitha K. Bhuvaneswari, Director and Superintendent, Regional Institute of Ophthalmology and Government Ophthalmic Hospital,Chennai, Dr. Mohan Rajan, Chairman & Medical Director ‘Rajan Eye Care Hospital’ underlined the significance of the event.
Delivering the welcome address Dr. Sumitha Agarkar, Deputy Director, Department of Paediatric Ophthalmology, Sankara Nethralaya observed that the most generous gesture and thoughtful of sharing the latest findings in the field of paediatric ophthalmology by establishing an endowment in his wife Dr. Nagamani Dharmapuri’s name underlined the noble couple’s commitment to their homeland and was a true example of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s call for the free exchange of knowledge. She recalled that great stalwarts have addressed the audience year after year on this momentous day and gave an account of the impressive work done in paediatric ophthalmology by Sankara Nethralaya.
Dr S.Meenakshi, Senior Consultant, Peadiatric Ophthalmology and Director Academics, Sankara Nethralaya introduced the esteemed the guest speaker of the day, Professor Gerald Shultz as a world renowned ophthalmic geneticist with special interest in anterior segment, she gave an interesting account of his professional affiliations, books authored and lectures delivered at the most prestigious ophthalmic centers in the world. This was followed by a ceremonial honouring of the dignitaries by the Chairman Emeritus and Vice-Chairman of Sankara Nethralaya. Giving a brief note on Dr.Mohan Rajan guest of honour of the day Dr T.S.Surendran observed that he did not want to give a formal intro of a person who was so familiar to the Sankara Nethralaya family, he thanked him for the great assistance to Sankara Nethralaya by mobilizing substantial funds and introducing organizations like Cognizant Technologies. In his characteristic style and in keeping with the cricket mania that had gripped the city he gave interesting tidbits on how Dr. Mohan Rajan was an all rounder in the game of cricket and cricketing idols like Mathew Hayden and Sachin Tendulkar were his patients. Dr. T.S.Surendran completed his talk with his observation that the Madras Ophthalmic Association and Sankara Nethralaya were the left and right eye of Dr. Mohan Rajan.
Delivering the guest of honor address, Dr. Mohan Rajan paid rich tributes to his Alma Mater, Sankara Nethralaya, its illustrious founder and Chairman Emeritus and his Guru Dr. SS.Badrinath. he fervently appealed to the Fellows and students assembled to make the best use of the world class amenities and teaching available at Sankara Nethralaya, he cited his wife Dr. Sujatha Mohan and himself as great beneficiaries of the same, he complimented Sankara Nethralaya as the only ophthalmic center in the world which had reached excellence in clinical care, research and education, adding that ophthalmic history in the country will be chronicled as ‘before Dr. Badrinath’ and ‘after Dr. Badrinath’ the man who made it a reality. He had a high word of praise for Dr. TS.Surendran’s dedication and single handed perseverance which had raised the paediatric department at Sankara Nethralaya to glorious heights.
The illustrious guest speaker of the day started his oration on ‘Genetic and acquired paediatric disorders’ on a lighter note with fond recollections of a tall and handsome Dr. SS.Badrinath whom he recalled sitting with his vitreo-retinal colleagues in the front benches and listening intently to the lectures, he added that while Dr SS.Badrinath moved to the renowned Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, he moved to military service which is mandatory for US citizens. Dr Shultz declared that young Dr SS.Badrinath had a dream and a passion adding that ‘We are here today because of its fulfillment’. What followed was a most interesting and informative talk on the role of genes, chromosomes, inherited/acquired ophthalmic disorders, genetics of hereditary cataract, importance of prenatal screening, genomic infections and corneal opacities. impact of sexually transmitted diseases in uveitis, embellished with real time case studies. The learned professor had a high word of appreciation for the work done in the role of sexually transmitted diseases in causing uveitis by Dr. Jyotirmay Biswas, Director Uveitis and Opthalmic Pathology department, Sankara Nethralaya.
The highly charged and momentous day came to an end with a vote of thanks by Dr. Srikanth observing that the Sankara Nethralaya family was both humbled and inspired by the in-depth oration.
A high profile team consisting of senior health ministry officials Dr. J.Radhakrishnan, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare Department, Dr. S.Geethalakshmi, Director of Medical Education, Government of Tamil Nadu, Dr. Richard Marchase, Vice-President Research and Dr. Jason Nichols, Associate Vice-President, Research and Mr. David Springer who facilitated the meeting with the members of the University of Alabama, visited the Sankara Nethralaya main campus on the 12th of February 2015. The distinguished members were taken on a tour of the research and clinical facilities after which an elaborate presentation of the institution’s clinical services including community ophthalmology was made by Dr. Tarun Sharma, Director, Bhagwan Mahaveer Department of vitreoretinal services and Director-Fund Raising. This was followed by a meeting between the health ministry officials, visiting dignitaries and the Sankara Nethralaya team consisting of heads of the various clinical and research departments led by Dr. SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus .The topics discussed included collaboration in the field of advanced research diagnostics including rapid diagnostics tests for retinoblastoma, stem cell research and other key areas in addition to developing a portable operation theatre.
A critical study and findings on the impact of Foveal depression/thickness in Age Related Macular Diseases(ARMD), by Dr. Tarun Sharma, Director, Bhagwan Mahaveer Vitro-retinal Services, Sankara Nethralaya, titled “Foveal slope measurements in subjects with high risk of age related macular degeneration” was awarded the ‘1st Silver Award’ by the ‘Indian Journal of Ophthalmology’ and a paper titled “Polymerase chain reaction of intraocular fluid for mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB)” a ground breaking work on effective leveraging of the advanced Polymerase Chain Reaction Process (PCR) to detect or rule out the presence of tuberculosis bacterium in the intraocular fluid, by Dr. Jyotirmay Biswas, Director, Uveitis and Ophthamic Pathology Department, Sankara Nethralaya was awarded the “The best paper read at the UVEA session” and a paper titled “Diffusion weighted imaging- A predictor of visual outcome in acute optic neuritis” an in-depth work and observation on greater leveraging of ‘imaging technology’ to effectively asses visual outcome in patients with Neuro -optic problems, by Dr S.Ambika, Senior Consultant, Department of Neuro-Ophthalmology and Head of Neuro- Ophthalmology services, Sankara Nethralaya was awarded the “D.Athawale Award” by the scientific committee at the 73rd All India Ophthalmic Conference (AIOC) the annual meet of the All India Ophthalmic Society (AIOS) held between 5th and 8th of February 2015 at New Delhi. The Sankara Nethralaya family heartily congratulates the winners for the high honour bestowed on them and the impact of their study and findings in better understanding and treatment of eye ailments.
As an institution with the firm belief that the disturbingly high gap between the need and availability of cornea for transplant can be bridged not by an individual or institution but only by creating awareness on eye donation at the ground level and by making it a ‘mass movement,’ Sankara Nethralaya conducts several eye donation awareness programs. Srimathi Akila Ganesan, Senior General Manager addressed a large gathering of students belonging to the Loyola Outreach Department, formed to make students experience and express concern for the society especially the poor and needy, at the historic Bertram Hall on 30th of January 2015, as part of this ongoing initiative. Highlighting that the UNESCO has declared year 2015 as the ‘Year of Light’ she made an emphatic appeal to the students to make it as the ‘Year of Light and Vision’ by bringing the light of vision into the life of the visually impaired. She gave a real time feel of the despair undergone by the visually challenged by engaging the audience in an interesting exercise of holding their badges with just one of their eyes closed, a simple act which they found difficult to do and asking them to try and take a walk within their own homes with their eyes closed to experience the suffering that the visually challenged underwent all their lives.
Explaining that one of the reasons why the dear and near ones of the deceased person were apprehensive of donating the eyes is fear of disfigurement or mutilation of the face, she clarified that it was not the entire eye that was removed but only the cornea as it is only the cornea which is replaced to bring back vision, she highlighted that corneal blindness accounted for a staggering 5 million and it needs eye donation on a massive scale to overcome the situation. Srimathi Akila Ganesan made a spirited appeal to the students gathered to be the foot soldiers in the battle against blindness with each one of them taking a firm resolve that ‘the problem of India’s blindness is my problem’. She emphasized that each one of them could contribute to the upliftment of society, their locality and the neighbourhood which in turn will change the nation into a better place to live in all respects, She explained that their individual involvement in combating blindness will have a ripple effect which would ultimately crescendo into a mighty movement which would eradicate blindness from the face of the earth. The address drew great applause and appreciation and won many young hearts to the cause of eye donation.
This was followed by an address on the current eye donation scenario, various steps being taken for creating awareness and how students and the youth of the country could play a major role in this noble endeavour, by Shri S.V.G.Subramanian, Deputy Manager, CU Shah Eye Bank, Sankara Nethralaya
Like most health ailments the best period to test, prevent/treat and cure eye ailments is during its early stages, hence regular eye examination during childhood becomes an imperative part of lifelong eye health. It is also a fact that children in their playfulness fail to share vision discomforts they may be experiencing and would open up only when specific questions are asked. Bearing these points in mind the National Programme for control of Blindness conducts eye examination camps for children at least twice a year. Sankara Nethralaya’s Elite School of Optometry (ESO) also specializes in conducting eye screening camps for children.
A comprehensive vision testing for children studying in 29 schools located in Chennai Corporation Zone – 1 comprising of Ennore, Thiruvotriyur and Manali was carried out on February 4th 2015.The students underwent examination for refractive errors and also their binocular vision status and the general health of their eyes. The vision testing involved a three-phased structured protocol consisting of basic vision screening, detection of refractive errors and referral for other ocular problems.
The highlights of this event was the screening of 4604 children belonging mainly to the economically backward sections of society spread over 29 different schools for eye and vision problems in a single day. In 2012 the Elite School of Optometry, Sankara Nethralaya created a national record for eye screening of School children by testing 8469 children in a day. 19 Teams comprising 150 members performed vision testing in the school premises between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm.
In the recently concluded camp 171 children totaling to (3.71%) were identified with refractive errors. These children were given an option of choosing their own frames, which were trendy and stylish. This is to improve the compliance of spectacle wear, as cosmetic appearance is one of the major reasons for children not wearing their spectacles. Lenses for these spectacles would be made of plastic material, considering the safety of children’s eyes. Previous survey done by Elite School of Optometry showed that only 18% of children use the prescribed spectacles because of various reasons like teasing by friends, cosmetic factors and difficulty during sports. 117 (2.54%) children identified with ocular problems like squint, ptosis and cataract were referred to Sankara Nethralaya for free treatment. Parents of children with vision problems will be informed of their children’s vision status and counseled. Spectacles will be distributed in 10 days time in the school premises itself and parents will also be invited to collect the spectacles.
Lack of information to parents about their child’s condition in the conventional school screening is one of the main reasons for poor compliance to spectacles and other treatment options.The Elite School’s of optometry’s aim is to eliminate all these barriers and create a unique model in the school children vision testing henceforth said Ms. N. Anuradha, Vision Screening Coordinator, Elite School of Optometry.
Creating awareness among all the stakeholders especially parents and teachers and involving them as part of the screening would create an impact on the school vision screening models” added Dr. R Krishna Kumar, Principal, Elite School of Optometry.
For more details contact Dr. R. Krishna Kumar- 044 2234 6023