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SankaraNethralaya’s quest for a solution to ocular surface disorders reaches far beyond the surface!

The Ocular Surface and Keratoprosthesis Conference (OSKON-2018) the international conference to debate and discuss the challenges faced by the ocular surface of the eye and Keratoprosthesis, conducted from the 27th to 29th of July 2018 had all the elements that make a Sankara Nethralaya event, in a well balanced proportion.

If the 3 day, high power conference attended by national and international expertson the field from the world over went into the depth of the ocular surface, unravelling new facts,questioning old theories,throwing light on new technology, sharing new approaches and real time experience through case studies,the valedictory function held at the packed to capacity Ball Room of The Taj Coramandel on 29th of July 2018,was a giant step towards creating awareness on the gravity of the issue among the political dispensation, seeking political will, mandate and legislation, to give teeth to preventive measures discussed in the meet; another element that gave the conference a distinct Sankara Nethralaya flavour was the fact that it was held as a ‘Thanksgiving’ and ‘Honour’ to the ‘Gurus’ in keeping with the institution’s avowed Guru-Sishya Parampara, to Professor Giancarlo Falcinelli whose revolutionary process Modified osteo-odonto Keratoprosthesis (MOOKP) brought new hope to those suffering with extreme ocular surface issues and Dr G.Sitalakshmi who steered the concept in India.

Extending a warm welcome to the Chief Guest Shri Venkaiah Naidu the Vice President of India, Guest of Honour Shri Bhanwarilal Purohit, the Honourable Governor of Tamil Nadu, Shri C.Vijaya Baskar, Health Minister and Shri D.Jayakumar, Minister for Fisheries, at the grand valedictory session, Dr Prema Padmanabhan, the veteran cornea specialist from Sankara Nethralaya observed that the conference was something beyond an academic event confined to acquisition and dissemination of knowledge, she highlighted that it was a collective assertion of the moral responsibility of the cornea fraternity against ocular surface disorders especially those caused by human misconduct and folly, a multi layered approach to a multilayered challenge. Dr Prema Padmanabhan expressed that the presence of the Vice-President of India Shri Venkaiah Naidu a dynamic statesman who was unflinching in his beliefs, as the Chief Guest of the event filled everyone with the hope that the entreaties made at the conference will get the right political direction. Her sentiments were echoed by Dr GeethaIyer, Senior Consultant and Organizing Secretary, OSKON 2018, who described ocular surface disorders, especially the ones caused by external factors like accident, careless handling of hazardous substances and planned assaults which disfigured the victim’s appearance as a physical, psychological, social and economic problem impacting the career and marital prospects of the victim. Simplifying the MOOKP process to the non-ophthalmic section of the audience, Dr Iyer added interest to the proceeding with a highly absorbing and emotional short movie of the grandmaster of the art and science of MOOKP, Professor Giancarlo Falcinelli, capturing not only his genius but the warm human being in him. If the short movie capturing their experience in terms of revival of vision, by victims of acid attack and their physical presence at the event came as a real time testimonial to Sankara Nethralaya’s expertise in the process, Dr Geetha’s observation that 70% of MOOKP processeswere done totally cost free at Sankara Nethralaya highlighted the service orientation of an institution, which took the most advanced ophthalmic processes and technology totally cost free to  its indigent patients and drew loud applause from the large national and international gathering

One of the primary objectives of OSKON-2018 was to sensitise the ruling dispensation, seek political will and legislation to give teeth to the resolutions passed at the conference. An institution known for spearheading key initiatives like making it mandatory for maternity hospitals to check expecting mothers for the presence of galactose in the blood since it could result in the babiesbeing born with cataract, an institution which succeeded after a lot of persuasion and presenting of real time evidence in convincing the Union Health Ministry to permit cataract surgeries to be performed in a mobile OT far away from the base hospital, in a remote village and more recently an institution whose study on classroom illumination and seating pattern have been accepted as a blue print by the State’s Directorate of school education, as a guideline to regulate classrooms across the State, Sankara Nethralaya joined hands with likeminded institutions like the All India Institute for Medical Science, New Delhi, Government Eye Hospital, Chennai, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, Arvind Eye Care, Madurai and NGOs like MEER Foundation and ASFI to present a memorandum to the Vice President for passing a legislation prohibiting the sale of slaked lime or ‘Chuna’ in plastic pouchesas well as implement the ban on sale of acids

The event marked the launch of a national campaign towards prevention of corneal blindness due to Chemical Injuries. Speaking on the occasion Dr Shwetha S.Agarwal, Consultant, Cornea Department and member of the OSKON 2018 organizing committee,  made a strong case for making it mandatory for chemists and stores to dispense acid only to customers furnishing an ‘Aadhar Card’ to keep track of buyers and avoid its misuseIf the 3 day scientific session shed new light on the diagnosis and treatment of Ocular surface disorders, the successful treatment of vision loss and damage to the ocular surface caused by the most vitriolic substances including molten metal, the valedictory session succeeded in its objective of reaching out to the ruling dispensation represented on the dais by the Vice president of India, the Governor of Tamil Nadu and two senior Ministers of the state. The leaders in their address expressed high admiration for Sankara Nethralaya’s pioneering role in battling blindness, the one of its kind ‘Mobile Eye Surgical Unit’ (MESU) and its revolutionary outreach, its self sustaining financial model, its role in knowledge dissemination, the OSKON 2018 being a good example of the same, they raised their voice in favour of eye donation, advocated state-private partnership in healthcare, outreach programs benefiting the rural poor etc, everyone of them had a high word of admiration for the visionary spirit of founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr.SS.Badinath.

Acid attack survivors being presented with a plaque in admiration of their courage and fighting spirit and the presentation of a plaque of honour by the Vice President of India as a tribute to the grandmaster of MOOKP Professor Giancarlo Falcinelli a humanitarian doctor and simple human being, which was received by rof Christopher Liu in the presence of Mr.Sauro Mezzetti the Italian Consul in Pondicherry, were important highlights of the day.

The highly charged proceedings came to an end with Dr Bhaskar Sinivasan coorganizing secretary OSKON-2018 expressing his sincere thanks to the dignitaries and delegates and everyone who had contributed to the grand success of the event.

A simple adaptation of critical findings of a real time study on ‘Classroom illumination and student seating pattern’ finds place in popular health magazine

We take great pleasure and pride in sharing a case of a niche research initiative by Sankara Nethralaya’s senior optometrist and researcher finding real time significance and high recognition. Ms Kalpa Neglioni, PLOS one Senior Research Optometrist, LASFIN project, Sankara Nethralaya and Lecturer at the Elite School of Optometry (ESO) has been working for long on the prevailing illumination levels and seating modalities in typical Indian classrooms and their impact on the visual comfort and health of children, a most significant and relevant study, in view of the fact that children between 5 yrs and 16 years spend 6 hours every day at the classroom. The studies were done under the guidance of Dr RR. Sudhir, Senior Consultant, CJ Shah Cornea Services, Sankara Nethralaya. The team had made several corrective recommendations in this regard based on their findings. It was a moment of crowning glory to the institution when the recommendations of Ms Kalpa Negiloni made from the understanding of studies conducted over a large number of schools in Tamil Nadu, was adopted by the Directorate of School Education, Tamil Nadu, as a benchmark in regulating the same and shared as a guideline circular with the District Education officers in the State. It is noteworthy to mention here that an earlier study on the topic of lighting and ergonomics in Indian classrooms by Ms Kalpa had found its place of pride, as a human interest article in the ‘Times of India’, she was also recognized by the Elite School of Optometry, for converting her conference paper as an article in a peer reviewed journal.

The entire Sankara Nethralaya family congratulates and salutes Ms Kalpa Neglioni, her team and Dr. Sudhir for this most critical finding and eye opener which would impact the eye health and vision of millions of children in the State. We complement Shri Irungovel, Manager – Patient Counselling and Education for communicating the same to the general readers through his simple adaptation of the same in a popular health magazine.

A grateful institution rejoices in playing host to the launching of the biography of a great friend and supporter

Nani Palkhivala

The name Nani Palkhivala conjures a variety of images like few other personalities do, the sheer versatility of the man leaves anyone thoroughly amazed and awed. A man who was the nation’s foremost constitutional lawyers, civil rights champion, economist whose interpretation of  the union budget was more awaited than the budget itself, a seasoned diplomat whose stint as India’s Ambassador to the USA marked a new height in Indo-US relations, the list is endless, but what made the man different was the ‘Connect’ he had with the common man, he was not the esoteric genius who lived in an ivory tower whose philosophy and beliefs were understood only by the intelligentsia, but a man who was sensitized by happenings around him and sensitized the common man on the same. A man who brought terms like human rights, diplomacy, impact of the budget etc within the understanding and concern of the common man. His observation of Sankara Nethralaya as a place which replenishes his faith in the goodness of mankind, is a classic example of his deep understanding of an institution and its functioning seemingly far out of his purview.

The 20th of July 2018 marked a very special and emotional day for Sankara Nethralaya as it was hosting the launch of the biography of a man who was one of its greatest well wishers, supporters and champions of its cause. The VD Swami auditorium at the Sankara Nethralaya main campus where the launch of the book aptly titled ‘Nani Palkhivala – God’s gift to India’ by Shri Dharmendra Bhandari was happening, presented a picture of an intimate audience, to quote the words of Chief Guest Shri Gopal Krishna Gandhi who was releasing the book.  Speaking on the occasion senior members of Sankara Nethralaya, Chairman Emeritus and Founder Dr SS.Badrinath and Dr Girish Rao, Director Medical Affairs recalled how a single visit to the institution left a deep impact on Shri Nani Palkhivala  and became a most important chapter in the institution’s history. Srimathi Akila Ganesan, Director -Administration took the audience on an interesting journey of the institution and its service to mankind since inception as perceived by late Nani Palkhivala

The distinguished audience on the dais reflected the values for which the man whose biography was being released. Chief Guest of the evening Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi the highly principled and public spirited civil servant who served both as a diplomat and the governor of West Bengal with distinction, Retired Judge of the Madras High Court Justice Prabha Sridevan an upright legal luminary, artist, author, human rights/women’s rights activist and member of the Intellectual property rights commission, Shri Dharmendra Bhandari the author, a highly principled auditor and litterateur and Mr S.Mahalingam a master of the art of  communication who was known in corporate circles as a man who knows what, when and how to communicate, a simple man under whose chairmanship TCS scaled great heights and a dedicated member of the Nani Palkhivala Foundation.

The book launch marked an intellectually invigorating evening with highly captivating recollections of the genius, his values, his intellect, sense of justice and fair play, charity, humour and humility. Shri Dharmendra Bhandari recalled him as a rare combination of a corporate czar who worked like a super computer to lead TCS to the status of a world class company, a legal luminary who was appointed into the Law commission by India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru twice, a man who served as the attorney general for a single day and a man whose eloquence at the UN assembly decided a large tract of disputed land in the Rann of Kutch in favour of India. Guest of Honour Justice Prabha Sridevan observed with vehemence that if Nani Palkhivala was alive today he would have taught people the true meaning of freedom, emphasised the need for judicial recusal to judges, raised the prestige of the judiciary and demystified GST and demonetisation. Sharing his concern that we are living in a period of greed and gloom, when status has replaced stature, position has replaced prestige, sensation has replaced sacrifice, rhetoric has replaced reason, manipulation has replaced value system, Chief Guest Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi hastened to add that not all is lost and the nation’s judiciary stood as a shining example of high ethical standards, values and independence. He observed that the recent judgements by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the Madras High court on the case pertaining to right to privacy and the Supreme court’s pronouncement on the right of the elected government vis-a-vis the  Lt Governor were indeed great verdicts which would have rejoiced Nani Palkhivala, if he was alive today.

Delivering the Vote of Thanks Shri S.Mahalingam recalled that he had the privilege of working under the legend and recalled that late Nani Palkhivala held Dr SS.Badrinath and Sankara Nethralaya his institution in the highest esteem, adding that the only occasion his eloquence exceeded his budget speeches was the occasion when he spoke at the Sankara Nethralaya campus during one of his visits.

The author and publisher of the biography offered the great work at a special price of 50% of the actual cost on the day of launch and committed the entire sale proceeds to Sankara Nethralaya, as a tribute to the man who held the institution in the highest esteem and close to his heart, the same would be utilized to provide cost free eye care to the poor and needy who cannot afford to pay for their treatment.

A high power knowledge dissemination exercise throws light on a least studied/understood ophthalmic challenge!

Ocular Trauma Con 2018

The 12th of July 2018 marked an important day for an institution passionately committed to knowledge dissemination and alleviation of pain and suffering through the same as the institution’s ophthalmic specialty departments namely ‘The Department of Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Services’ & ‘Shri Bhagwan Mahavir Department of Vitreo Retinal Services’  came together to organize the ‘OcularTraumaCon-2018’a, high power, international four day conference on ‘Ocular Trauma’ a serious vision impairing condition which according to the WHO affects 55 million people worldwide, leading to partial to total blindness besides causing pain and agony and social stigma owing to disfigurement. While pain or trauma could be an accompanying condition for most kinds of ophthalmic disorders, with the concerned specialty department engaging itself in the relief and control of the same, the Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Services department specializes in damage control and pain management to a very large extent owing to the nature of the ophthalmic service it offers and the OculartraumaCON-2018 was the fruit of long period of hard work and planning by Dr Bipasha Mukherjee, Director of the department and her team of Dr Kirthi Koka, Dr Sonam Nissar Poonam, Dr Vathsalya Vijay and other members of the above department. The curtain raiser was held at the Sri V.D.Swami Auditorium Sankara Nethralaya main campus on the 12th of July 2018 with a warm welcome to the forthcoming event by Dr Bipasha Mukherjee and an interesting note on what it held in store by Dr Kirthi Koka which generated a lot of interest and expectancy towards the conference. A video messages by Dr Muna Bhende, Deputy Director, Shri Bhagwan Mahavir Department of Vitreo Retinal Services Department, which partnered in organizing the event, underlining that Ocular Trauma had an impact on livelihood and the hope that the conference promises to hold the answers to it gave a good perspective to the forthcoming event and the description of ocular trauma as something which did not comply to conclusive evidence or conformity but is interpreted by subjective observation and enhanced with learning from other’s experiences by Dr. Nisar Sonam Poonam, Associate Consultant at the Department of Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Services set the tone for the conference. Ocular TraumaCon 2018 assumed great significance as it was being jointly held by three major ophthalmic bodies namely the Ocular Society of India, Asia Pacific Ophthalmic Trauma Society with support from the ‘European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology’ (ESASO) and also doubled as Sankara Nethralaya’s ‘Retina Summit-2018’.

The international meet to discuss pain and suffering, aptly described by Dr Pramod Bhende, Medical Director-Clinical Services, Sankara Nethralaya as a ‘theme based knowledge dissemination initiative’ got off to the soothing tunes of Maestro Amjad Ali Khan’s Sarod in accompaniment with Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash at the packed to capacity Rajendra Hall, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai on 13th July 2018. The event generated significant interest and expectancy as it was an attempt to decipher and better understand one of the least recognized and studied factors causing blindness and was being participated by a galaxy of experts specializing in different ophthalmic specialties from the world over, since ocular trauma could occur in any region of the eye.

The three day event witnessed talks by more than 150 star speakers from across specialties who shared the latest treatment modalities, techniques and advances in handling ocular trauma and their critical real time experiences, which came as a source of great learning. Speakers strongly emphasised on a multi-disciplinary approach to treating ocular trauma, involving every sub-specialty of ophthalmology into it, creating awareness among the public and the need for government policy/legislation among policy makers, having an exclusive trauma care unit in every ophthalmic centre, creating a Fellowship and certification course in trauma care, grooming young ophthalmologists in the field of trauma care, creation of evidence based medicine, tested and proven guidelines, the need to make quick decisions when a patient is brought with a serious traumatic condition etc. Highlights at the meeting underlining the scope of trauma care were the observation by Dr Rupesh Agarwal, Secretary, Asia Pacific Ocular Trauma Society that the US military’s eye care division was willing to extend help in developing this field as a separate sub-specialty in view of the large number of soldiers who suffered damage in the eye during combat and showcasing of their ‘Air Ambulance’ which is pressed into service to transport accident victims to the hospital, shrinking time and distance, by Dr S.Raja Sabapathy, Head of Ganga Hospital, Coimbatore.

While the 3 day meeting facilitated a robust sharing of perceptions, approaches, current best practices in ocular trauma, leading to a better understanding of the same, the greater achievement of the exercise was that it succeeded in gaining ‘Ocular Trauma’ it’s long overdue recognition and place as a distinctly different and critical branch of ophthalmology.

The huge success of Ocular TraumaCON 2018 is a matter of great pride to Sankara Nethralaya the host institution as it reflected the meticulous planning, organizing and execution of the event by Dr Rajiv Raman and Dr Pradeep Susvar, Senior Consultants from its Vitroretina department who played the role of the Organizing Secretary and Joint Organizing Secretary of the event. Dr Pradeep Susvar in his address highlighted his department’s role in terms of the large number of patients it served every day, Fellows trained, offering 24X7 trauma care services for clinical and surgical management, large scale diabetic retinopathy screening, contributing to 50% of literature on DR, its highly impactful Lions skill transfer program and the department being completely digitalized and equipped with State of the Art equipment. Dr Rajiv Raman extended his sincere thanks to every delegate attending the TraumaCON-2018 for sharing their knowledge, understanding and personal experience which made the event a great learning opportunity and memorable to all attendees.

The event witnessed the induction of Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus and Founder Sankara Nethralaya and a leading light and doyen of ophthalmology, referred to as ‘Father of Vitroretina’ in India’ and Dr S.Natarajan, Founder and CEO of Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital, Mumbai into the ‘Retina Hall of Fame’

Report on VIBS – Hands-on Summer Training programme (14th May – 1st June 2018)

The Hands-on-summer training programme is a scheduled annual training programme conducted under Vidyasagar Institute of Bio-Medical Science (VIBS) a Unit of Medical Research Foundation, with an objective of imparting real time knowledge and experience in Basic medical sciences including  application of advanced  techniques  in the field of  Medical Biochemistry,  Microbiology  and Human genetics to post graduate students from Science and Arts college /Research Institutions/Engineering colleges. The programme was conducted between 14th May and 1st June 2018   with the inaugural function conducted by Dr.H.N.Madhavan, Director of VIBS, alongwith Dr.N.Angayarkanni, HOD, Biochemistry  on 14th May 2018.

A total of 17 candidates (3 each from  Stella Maris College, Loyola College,1 each from Madras Christian College, Rajalakshmi Engineering College, Saveetha Medical College and hospital, SRM Arts and Science College, &VMU-Aarupadaiveedu Institute of Technology in Chennai, one each from  SASTRA University, Thanjavur, Pondicherry  Central University, Pondicherry, Periyar University, Salem, Mahatma Gandhi Degree College, University of Bradford (MDIS), Singapore  and 2 from Andhra Pradesh  underwent hands on  training programme in advanced techniques in the 3 departments of Basic Medical Sciences (7 candidates in  R.S. Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 4 in SN ONGC Genetics & Molecular Biology and 6 in   L & T Microbiology Research Centre).

The valedictory function was conducted on the last day of the training programme   on 1st June 2018. Dr.S.S.Badrinath Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya was the chief guest  for the programme. The programme started with a prayer song by Dr.S.R.Bharathi Devi and  presentation of VIBS activities by  Dr.K. Lily Therese, VIBS – Co-ordinator. The participants gave a good feedback on the programme and faculty from each department also shared their experience of conducting the hands on summer training programme, by appreciating the student’s interest and enthusiasm in learning the techniques which reflected in their good performance in the evaluation conducted at the end of the programme.  The participants were requested to share the acquired knowledge and impart the skills to their juniors and colleagues in their respective colleges.

Chairman Emeritus Dr.S.S.Badrinath alongwith the respective faculty from each participating department distributed the certificates to all the participants and the programme came to an end with high tea and a group photograph. We take this opportunity to gratefully acknowledge the support of the managements of Vision Research Foundation & Medical Research Foundation for providing the facility and the Founder of VIBS, Padmashri Iravatham Mahadevan, I.A.S. for providing the wonderful opportunity to share the acquired knowledge and skills with Post graduate students from various Science & Arts Colleges & Research Institutions, which is one of the major objective of this great Institution!!.

The ‘Temple of the eye’ takes a giant step in its journey of ‘Service to Mankind’

The 23rd of April 2018 was a ‘Red Letter Day’ for an institution that came into existence with one simple objective ‘Serving mankind and alleviating suffering of the masses through quality eye care’ it was the day the institution made an auspicious and blessed step towards fulfilling a long time dream, a most cherished dream and also a very ambitious dream. The institution started on the principle of serving eye care totally cost free and with a personal touch to poor patients, had over the 4 decades of its service reached a position of pride wherein it treated  50% of its out patients and performed 35% of its surgeries totally cost free, its cost free eye care initiatives had also recorded magnificent outreach, with quality eye care being dispensed to poor patients in inaccessible, remote regions like the deep interiors of the Sunderbans in West Bengal, Vellimalai Hills in Tamil Nadu and more recently in the tribal regions of Singhbum in the State of Jharkand. Building and operating a large, well equipped and easily accessible community hospital, dedicated exclusively to cost free treatment to indigent patients remained a collective dream of the institution. The idea was to have a State of the Art facility which would cater to a large number of walk-in patients, serve as a referral base hospital to patients screened at the outdoor camps, where they could be brought provided boarding, lodging and free treatment, a place where the institution’s community outreach vehicle including the MESU (MOBILE EYE SURGICAL UNIT) could be parked between their trips.

The biggest and first challenge in starting such a large facility, the availability of a large tract of land, in an accessible part of the city was solved when in a most generous and thoughtful gesture Mrs Kausalya Appukutty, Volunteer- Sankara Nethralaya Auxiliary Services (SWAN) made available the same totally cost free at the Dr VG. Appukutty Campus, named in honour of her late husband and generous supporter of Sankara Nethralaya, from where the CU Shah Sankara Nethralaya and the Elite School of Optometry function. The Bhumi puja for the facility was held with traditional piety with the chanting of mantras, vedic hymns and Homam at the proposed site, in the presence of a large number of friends, well wishers and employees. Srimathi Anuradha Narayan, lecturer at the ESO extended a warm welcome to the attendees and expressed the institution’s deep gratitude to Ms Voltas, Ms Infosys, Ms Trent Ltd, the Rahm Sitaraman family, USA and long time friend and supporter Shri Iravatham Mahadevan for their generous donation which would serve as the critical ‘Seed’ capital for the new initiative. Speaking on the occasion Col Raghavan, Director-Projects and chief architect of the  initiative observed that the institution was able to embark on a ‘not for profit’ facility with such a high capital outlay only because corporate  houses and individual donors open their purses generously when Dr SS.Badrinath the institution’s founder makes an appeal for support.

In a moment that captured the spirit of the day, special guest of the event Shri Iravatham Mahadevan expressed that if only he had been 10 years younger he would have visited every home in the locality to mobilize funds for the noble endeavour, the fact that the octogenarian had already made an appeal to the families in his apartment complex became apparent when a co-resident from the complex expressed that every family in the complex would donate towards this noble cause. This was followed by presenting of donation cheques by Srimathi Surekha Mehta, on behalf of SWAN and by Mr Sanjay who operates the staff canteen at the VG Appukutty campus.

Greeting the gathering on the occasion well known Litterateur and Editor of popular Tamil magazine ‘Amudhasurabhi’ Shri Thirupur Krishnan, a friend and well wisher recalled the glorious days when he served under Shri Iravatham Mahadevan, a highly principled civil servant, he observed that as a hospital which would be serving the masses it would only be appropriate that it is funded by donations from the common man, he drew a parallel of the same by narrating how Swami Vivekaanda wanted his trip to the World Congress of Religions in Chicago, to be funded by small donations from the common man and not by a few wealthy donors, as he was representing the entire nation.

Speakng on the occasion Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus and Founder, Sankara Nethralaya expressed his thanks to all who had assembled and the team working on the project, he had a special word of thanks to Srimathi Kausalya Appukutty, member SWAN for making available the land, without which the project could not have been envisaged. He welcomed and expressed his thanks to special guests Shri Iravatham Mahadevan and Brigadier VS.Joon, Station Commander and President Cantonment Board, for his critical role in obtaining the necessary sanctions and permits for the proposed building, from the Army authorities.

Students from the ESO rise magnificently to a knowledge exposition challenge of global proportions!

Future Ocular Research Creativity Event

FORCE (Future Ocular Research Creativity Event)was a competition that had every element that goes to make a high profile knowledge evaluation exercise, the sponsor was among the biggest names in contact lens and visual aids and it was a national competition which would propel the winner into the highly charged world of European optometry. Students of the Elite School of Optometry known for their capacity to pull up their socks in short notice and prove their mettle, rose admirably to the occasion, reiterating beyond all doubt that they are indeed a ‘Force’ to reckon with in their field!

We take pleasure in sharing a spirited,step by step, first person account of the competition and how Jude Remedios Menezes the star performer from the ESO made his way to the European Finals at Budapest, Hungary.

The National round of the cooper vision force presentation was held on 2th of March, 2018 at the Orchid Hotel in Mumbai. A team of 5 Members, namely, Akshara, P Gaurav, PoojaNandagopal, VivekSuganthan R and Jude R Menezes represented the Elite School of Optometry at this prestigious, First of its Kind National Contest. This team was accompanied by its mentor and guide, Dr Rajeshwari M – The contact Lens stalwart faculty from ESO.

This Contest required from the participating students, a presentation of a Research Study, Case Report or a Review article to be judged by a team of three well renowned clinicians in the field.

In the preparatory stages, Dr JameelRizwana, Dr Viswanathan, Ms Rinu Thomas and Mr Asif Iqbal played a significant role in addition to the core Guidance from Dr Rajeswari in mentoring of the participating students who worked hard to streamline their presentation slides and skills within the time constraints that this contest had demanded.

After a week of intense study and practice the team was flown to Mumbai in the early hours of the day of the presentation and delivered their best.

Gaurav presented his research results on the “Impact of introducing Comfilcon A spherical soft contact lens at a tertiary eye care centre- A retrospective Review( 2015-2018)”, Akshara presented a Case Series on “ comparison of subjects with RGP and soft torric contact lenses”, Vivek and Pooja teamed up to present a review on “Toric Soft Lens Stabilization: Is it Stabalized? ” and finally Jude presented  a review on the “Success of the soft contact lens market: How new techniques, Tests and Instruments can help?”.

The results couldn’t have been more in consistence with the quality of the presentation, with the Elite School stealing bragging rights with the best presentations of the Day.

Jude’s Presentation made him the country winner and won him a ticket to Budapest, Hungary to compete for the title ‘European FORCE winner- 2018’ at the International Cooper vision Future Ocular Research Creativity Event(FORCE).

All in all, right from the very start, the trip proved to be a memorable experience for the students and provided them with a rare exposure to presentation at a professional level, boosting their self-confidence and enhancing their exposure to the soft contact lens industry.

The students and their mentors take this opportunity to thank the management of SankaraNethralaya for this rare opportunity of participating in a high level competition and for their constant encouragement and support

The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its hearties congratulations to the ESO team consisting of the participating students and their mentors for keeping the SN flag flying high and conveys its very best wishes to Jude Remedios Menezes in his single minded pursuit towards winning the  ‘European Force winner – 2018’

An eye care institution preferred by the world is acknowledged for its universal appeal across boundaries and service

Sankara Nethralaya has been a preferred eye care destination to patients not only from different parts of India but from all over the world, right since its early days. It has an exclusive ‘overseas patients’ department serving a steady flow of patients from the world over. We take great pleasure in sharing that Sankara Nethralaya has been adjudged as the ‘Best Medical Tourism Hospital’ in the ‘Tamil Nadu Tourism Awards 2018′. The award was presented on the 14th of March 2018 at a function organized jointly by Ms Madura Travels and the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation, at Kamarajar Arangam. The award was presented by Singing Legend, Padmabhushan Srimathi P.Susheela and well known Industrialist and philanthropist, Chevalier, Kalaimamani Shri VG. Santhosham and received on behalf of Sankara Nethralaya by Srimathi Nirmala Kurien, General Manager, Human Resource Department.

Nation’s premier newspaper confers high honours on Sankara Nethralaya and its founder

The Hindu Group Publishing Pvt Ltd, among the nation’s oldest and highly prestigious media houses honoured Sankara Nethralaya as one of the 21 healthcare institutions in the State and its Founder Dr SS.Badrinath for their service to society. The awards were presented by His Excellency Banwari Lal Purohit, the Honourable Governor of Tamil Nadu on the 17th of March 2018 at ‘Hotel Feathers’, Chennai and attended by  Shri C.Vijaya Baskar, Health Minister and Shri J.Radhakrishnan, Health Secretary, Tamil Nadu. The event also witnessed the launch of The Hindu’s coffee table book honouring leading institutions which have contributed significantly to healthcare in the country. The first copy of the book titled ‘Doyens Guardians of Healthcare – Tamil Nadu 2018’, which has an exclusive chapter dedicated to Sankara Nethralaya was launched by the Governor and received by Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former Ambassador of West Bengal.

Report on Seventeenth Dr E Vaithilingam Memorial scientific session – Feb 24 & 25, 2018

Elite School of Optometry (ESO) has been encouraging optometry research in India for the last few years in many ways. One of the main activities of ESO in this regard is the annual conference on vision science and optometry. Dr. E. Vaithilingam (fondly called Dr. EV) was a pioneer in the field of optometry, who served as the Principal of the Elite School of Optometry from February 1991-March 2001. He was an expert in multiple disciplines – clinical optometry, contact lens and low vision. Dr. E. Vaithilingam was the Head of Low vision services in Sankara Nethralaya and he wrote a book titled “Practice of Low Vision” which helps all the students and practitioners in the field of Low vision till date. He was an ardent researcher and pioneer with more than 100 publications to his credit. He was the first Indian to become a fellow of International Association of Contact Lens Educators (FIACLE) and to be honored as Fellow of American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). In 2002, in memory of Dr. E. Vaithilingam, ESO initiated a national scientific session to encourage optometrists and optometry students from across the country to present their research work. Every year, the quality and quantity of presentations have been increasing exponentially.

This year, ESO conducted the 17th Dr EV Memorial scientific session on the 24th and 25th February, 2018 that received an overwhelming response with participation from twenty optometry academic institutions, seventeen ophthalmic hospitals and 631 eye care practitioners from all over the country. Dr. Mitchell Scheiman, Dean of Research and Director of Graduate studies at Salus University, Pennsylvania was the keynote speaker for the event.

Dr. Mitchell Scheiman who has authored over 200 scientific papers and has served as a chair for the NEI funded clinical trials on Convergence insufficiency is known for his contribution through his book “Clinical management of Binocular vision” that serves as the textbook for Binocular vision across the world. He is a renowned clinician researcher and is a mentor and role model for many in this field. With his enthralling presence, the 2 days of event did receive a humongous response from students and practitioners.

On the 23rd February, the day started with the pre-conference workshop on “Clinical pearls and tips to improve binocular vision diagnosis” conducted by Dr. Mitchell Scheiman at the Jayshree Venkataraman Auditorium, Sivasailam Block , Sankara Nethralaya. With over 100 participants, the workshop inculcated clinical pearls and tips that form the foundation for binocular vision testing and diagnosis. With a simplistic approach to the framework of BV testing, the workshop helped the delegates to take home valuable messages and skills for their clinical practice. The workshop also had a rigorous hands-on training of clinical procedures in BV with 10 facilitators, coordinated by Dr. Mitchell Scheiman & Dr. Jameel Rizwana Hussaindeen.

The second pre-conference workshop on “Empathetic communication for clinicians” was conducted by Dr Sumathi Narayanan – President, Creative Communication & Management Care and faculty of ESO, moderated by Dr. Rashima Asokan. This workshop is initiated since 2015 and continues to inspire the budding clinicians with Dr. Sumathi’s three decades of expertise in the arena of communication.

The evening symposium on the 24th February, had exciting events that would remain as remarkable milestones in the history of ESO. One such event was the launch of a learning application named as “ECSELO – ESO’s Case Scenario-based learning in Optometry”, lead by Ms. Najiya and Ms. Ashwini, Research associates at Sankara Nethralaya and probably  the youngest editors in the Optometry world. EcSelO is an interactive mobile application that covers the key points to approach 45 common clinical conditions in optometric practice. This application was conceptualized with the help of Mr. Chandramouli –Head of IT Services, Sankara Nethralaya and executed with the support of Chennai publishing services and Prag IT. This application will serve thousands of optometry students and faculty all over the country and will continue to expand with more chapters and learning content.  The second highlight was the launch of a website for color vision deficient individuals and the Dalton’s pseudo-isochromatic plates, a quick screening tool for color vision deficiency. This initiative was led by Mr. Mohan, an alumnus of ESO, mentored by Mr. Maruthachalam Manthiram – Director of Shrusty Global solutions and Dr. Krishna Kumar R – Principal, ESO. These two initiatives did inspire hundreds of young optometrists gathered during the symposium to contribute to the Optometry community in meaningful ways.

Apart from conventional scientific abstracts, to encourage evidence based practice and to motivate the clinicians to build the researcher instinct, the clinician to researcher sessions have been introduced since 2014.  This year, 12 clinician to researcher presentations were shortlisted and 7 of these presentations pertinent to binocular vision were presented during the evening symposium. The evening then continued to move on with the Binocular vision potpourri where three interesting cases were presented by Dr. Jameel Rizwana Hussaindeen – Head of Binocular vision clinic, Sankara Nethralaya- moderated by Dr. Mitchell Scheiman and Dr. Meenakshi Swanminathan – Director, Academics, Sankara Nethralaya.  The potpourri covered the management aspects of three common clinical case presentations with an evidence based approach moderated by the 2 eminent panel members. The evening on the whole received an overwhelming response and feedback.

The 17th Dr E Vaithilingam memorial scientific session on the 25th February had a poignant start with the divine rendition by Ms. Lohitha Viswanathan, and lighting of Kuthuvilakku by the dignitaries present. Following this, Dr. Krishna Kumar R, Principal, ESO delivered the welcome address on behalf of Dr. Girish Rao, Medical Director and touched upon the highlights of Optometry practice in the institution and welcomed the gathering.  Dr. Rajeswari, Assistant Professor, ESO shared about the progress and history of EV Memorial scientific sessions. The event continued with sharing of fond memories of Dr. E Vaithilingam, by Ms. Gomathy Ravi – Daughter of Dr. EV, Dr. Yadav KK, former colleague of Dr. EV at the Banaras Hindu University and Dr. T.S. Surendran- Vice Chairman, Medical Research Foundation.

The inauguration event was followed by the most awaited part of the day, the keynote lecture by Dr. Mitchell Scheiman. Dr. Jameel Rizwana Hussaindeen introduced Dr. Scheiman and recalled her acquaintance and able mentorship under Dr. Scheiman. Dr. Scheiman then presented his keynote lecture on “Convergence Insufficiency treatment trial (CITT) – Past, Present and Future”. The keynote lecture covered the review of research done by the CITT study group over the past decade and how the future holds promise for research in this field. Dr. Scheiman’s expertise in this field was very well appreciated and applauded by the delegates. It must have been a lifetime experience for the delegates listening from the horse’s mouth.

Every year, the quality and quantity of presentations have been increasing exponentially. This year, about 114 scientific presentations in various categories of free paper, e-poster, and clinician to researcher sessions were presented. The Go-Green initiative of e-posters did receive a good feedback from all the delegates as it saved the cost of printing, and reduced the need to carry it.

Scientific conferences happen all over the world year after year but the conversion of the conference presentations to publications are meagerly low.  Converting the conference work to publication completes the successful journey and so recognizing this is as well becomes important! At the 17th Dr EV memorial scientific session, 8 optometrists who were successful in this scientific journey were recognized.

As every year, this year witnessed three innovative forums for students and practitioners to showcase their community connect and innovations.

The first was the display of posters by institution to showcase their social accountability. Nine institutions from across the country who were shortlisted proudly presented their community contributions.  All the institution representatives were honored with the Optometrist community vision screening kit, sponsored by Orbis, India. The next was “Share your story”. this was again to showcase the community connect, where the institution’s community responsibility changed the life of a person with visual impairment. Two case stories shortlisted from over 40 entries were awarded during the event. The third event was the display of innovative prototypes applicable for binocular vision diagnosis and vision therapy, by undergraduate Optometry students. Eleven entries were shortlisted and two best innovations were awarded. The award list is as below.

Beginning 2013, the EVM scientific session supports students through travel grants and this year, 21 final year Optometry students from outside Chennai received the ESO- Essilor student travel grant awards. As a token of appreciation to maximum participation by students from SRM University school of Optometry and Sri Ramachandra Medical College Optometry school,  ESO ’s internally illuminated pocket vision screener was given to the heads of the schools,  to be utilized for their community vision programs.

The Scientific Session came to an end with closing remarks by Mr. Jothi Balaji , Senior Manager, Sankara Nethralaya. The event was ably supported by sponsors Mr. Subashish Choudary, Soham eye care and Silverline Contact lens laboratories.  The e-abstract book introduced during 2016 is successfully taken forward this year as well (http://www.eso.sankaranethralaya.org/drev-2018-e-book/index.html).

ESO and SN look forward to a promising future for Optometry and vision science research in this country and forums like this evidently display the same.