A veteran surgeon and humanitarian ‘transplants’ new thoughts at SN’s 73rd I-Day celebrations

73rd Independence Day

The 73rd Independence Day of the nation was celebrated with customary patriotic fervor and gaiety by the institution committed to freedom and independence through revived vision. The quadrangle between its imposing clinical, administrative and research blocks wore a festive look as members from the senior management, consultants, staff and their family members gathered in large numbers. The proceedings started with a reverential recollection of the nation’s freedom fighters and founding fathers to whom we owe our Independence, by the compeer of the day. Thanking the distinguished chief guest whom he hailed as a Guinness record holder for his presence in the midst of his busy schedules Dr TS Surendran, Vice Chairman highlighted that before introducing ‘Sankara Nethralaya’ the institution to the esteemed chief guest, he would like to add that Dr SS.Badrinath and Dr Vasanthi Badrinath who jointly strived in its creation were by themselves two great institutions who had the Vision Research Foundation and Medical Research Foundation in every breath of theirs. Hailing the distinguished chief guest as one of the world’s greatest liver transplant surgeons he underlined that every member in the audience had a hidden talent which he should explore and nurture.

A spirited rendition of a patriotic song by Mahakavi Bharathiar by Mr Durairaj a member of the staff added its special flavor to the day’s proceedings. Dr Suganeswari Senior Consultant,introduced the Chief Guest Dr Mohomed Rela, Founder Rela Institute & Medical Centre as a man with the distinction of having performed 1000 liver transplant surgeries which included a most challenging surgery on a 5 day old, she hailed him as a perfectionist and a man committed to his goal and vision just like Dr SS.Badrinath, she brought out the less known facets in him in terms of his charity without publicity and humanitarian values.

Likening his address on the occasion to the highly popular ‘Thought of the day’ broadcast by London’s Radio 4, his favourite program during his 20 year stay in UK, Dr Mohomed Rela highlighted freedom of expression and equality as the basic qualities of ‘Independence’, he wondered aloud if today’s citizenry are enjoying these privileges and rights enshrined in the constitution in the real sense? He went on to underline that these privileges are meaningful only when the basic needs of citizens like food and shelter are adequately met.

The distinguished Chief Guest quoted with authority from the epics, the Thirukural and Bharathiar’s patriotic poems to underline the quality of charity and other virtues and hailed Sankara Nethralaya for demonstrating these qualities in ample measure with an unimaginable tally of treating 70% of its patients totally cost free!

It was a wonderful demonstration of the saying that ‘Great men think alike’ when he completed his talk by quoting John F Kennedy’s immortal lines ‘Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for the country’ the same electrifying lines with which Dr SS.Badrinath appealed for individual and societal responsibility at his acceptance speech to the nation, on being conferred the ‘Greatest Legendary Living Indian’ by ND TV in year 2013

The day witnessed the awarding of service awards, merit awards, children’s scholarships and the most awaited ‘Man of the Year’ and ‘Women of the Year’ by the chief guest and senior management members.

The ESO ‘Conspires’ to unseat its beloved City and State from the World No-1 position!!

As an eye care pioneer Sankara Nethralaya has several proud firsts to its credit, the first ophthalmic institution in Asia to be accredited by the ISO, the first to start a large exclusive research centre in the private sector, the first to perform eye surgeries outside a conventional operation theatre in a base hospital, a place in the Limca book of records for the highest number of children screened in a single day, developing the first Logmar chart in local languages and the Patent for some critical findings in ophthalmology. But this time around the Elite School of Optometry was attempting to remove the State of Tamil Nadu and its capital city of Chennai from the Number1 position which it had ‘gained’ for itself! the reason was simple, the No-1 position was a dubious distinction, as the City and State were declared by the WHO as the ones with the highest road accidents in the world!

As public spirited institutions Sankara Nethralaya and its academic arm the Elite School of Optometry realized that they had a moral responsibility towards making the city safe for its riders, drivers and pedestrians, thus was born the initiative ‘An eye for safety’ and ‘an eye on the road’ in February 2019. It was the continuation of this that was being observed on world optometry day. Dr Krishna Kumar, Principal, ESO, started the day on a somber note with chilling facts on lives and limbs lost on the tarred surface connecting people and places; distance in time and space have an insulating effect on people but the fact that he was referring to roads becoming killing fields, not in a distant land but in their own backyard brought disturbing recollections of smashed windscreens, sound of wailing sirens and that blotch of blood on the black road, which every resident of this metropolis had become familiar with. The silver lining on the dark picture was the revelation that simple steps like wearing helmet and seat belt, observing traffic rules, avoiding drunken driving, and ensuring healthy vision were small measures that could make a impact on road safety to both the driver and the pedestrian. The senior vision professional listed the distance in which a driver with healthy vision will be able to see objects, light etc on the road and how this would give enough time to take safety steps and how lack of good vision could catch a driver by surprise and give him too little time to maneuver or take any steps.

The institution honoured Mr Subbaram an ex-service man and disciplinarian and proud father of Mr Senthil an IT professional, the unsung hero working alone and purposefully towards safety on the roads by showcasing safety rules and tips as messages on his backpack on the way to work and back. The ESO distributed such backpacks with critical traffic do’s and don’ts to the young audience. As an institution known to leverage youth power in all its social endeavours the ESO gave the task of creating safety awareness on the roads to its favourite segment and students from CMC Vellore, Vasan Institution of ophthalmology and research, Sri Jayendra Saraswati institution of optometry, Regional Institution of ophthalmology and government ophthalmic hospital, Sankara Nethralaya academy and Agarwal Institute of optometry. The students rose gloriously to the occasion as only they can and what followed was an hour of sheet magic and poetry. Videos, slogans, Adzap, Mime, Team quiz, Simulator, Ramp walk, skits with the central theme as eye donation, vied with one another to drive home the point effectively with a generous dash of humour making it a memorable evening of edutainment.

The momentous day ended with the release of a road safety video produced by the ESO with assistance from SN’s multimedia team and taking of a pledge of oath by the large audience.

16th edition of popular oration n Pediatric Ophthalmology unravels a critical syndrome in children

16th Dr Nagamani Dharmapuri Oration

The 16th edition of the Dr Nagamani Dharmapuri oration got off to a melodious and auspicious start at the Sri VD Swami Auditorium with a soulful invocation by Dr Mihir Girish, invoking Allah and Eashwar, in keeping with the Sankara Nethralya spirit of service to all. Dr Sumitha Agarkar got the proceedings started with a quick brief on the genesis of the award, the deep friendship between Dr Vidyasagar Dharmapuri and Dr SS.Badrinath, the objective of the oration and how it has acted as a bridge between pediatrics and ophthalmology and enriched and complimented the multidisciplinary approach adopted by the pediatric ophthalmology department through profound lectures by experts from diverse fields. This was followed by an introduction of the distinguished Chief Guest and star speaker of the day Dr Anthony Moore highlighting the senior positions held and his achievements as a clinician, researcher and pediatric ophthalmologist by Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Ophthalmology dept and Director of Academics

The oration on the topic ‘Childhood and developmental Macular Dystrophies’ was a demonstration of Dr Moore’s mastery over his specialization, it brought out the similarities and variables of the disorder in terms of manifestation, symptoms and progression. The world famous pediatric ophthalmologist took his audience across continents to highlight incidences and case studies of the ailment which underlined his point that it manifested itself in manifold ways. The learned professor advised simple steps like protecting the eyes from direct sunlight and nutritious food as good preventive steps. The expert highlighted that major work is happening today in the field in terms of clinical trials, gene replacement, stem cell therapy, leveraging inhibitors and administering vitamin A

Sankara Nethralaya partners with Google to create, validate and implement advanced vision screening algorithms

It came as a feather in the cap for an institution in the forefront of embracing medical and non medical technology and constantly improvising and innovating its ophthalmic and non ophthalmic processes to find solutions to emerging ophthalmic challenges and enhance quality, reach, speed and convenience in dispensing eye care, when Google the global technology and communication giant engaged in the pursuit of solutions to social and humanitarian issues chose the institution as its preferred partner in developing an Algorithm to detect diabetic retinopathy a major ophthalmic issue threatening to deprive the vision of millions around the world and macular oedema caused due to myriad contributory factors, a condition which could lead to permanent vision loss if not detected and treated early. The collaboration involved conducting real time validation of the deep learning algorithms and implementation of the same.

Senior Ophthalmologists from the institution provided the vital ophthalmic/biological inputs in terms of markers/indicators to the Google team who leveraged artificial intelligence, exhaustive neural networks and complex mathematical systems to develop a deep learning algorithm which can detect diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular oedema with amazing accuracy, speed and perfection. The algorithm was put to real time test at the Sankara Nethralaya’s main campus at Chennai and at Thailand and its findings were evaluated by a team of senior ophthalmologists. It was a moment of great jubilation for the Google-SN team involved in the exercise when the specialists adjudicated the accuracy of the findings as being on par or even superior to findings by a qualified ophthalmologist. The institution credited with landmark technical innovations like developing and implementing one of the earliest Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems, the DNA macro chip in ophthalmology, internet aided tele-ophthalmology camps and the one of its kind in Asia Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) will now be leveraging this most advanced screening algorithm combining exhaustive neural networks and complex mathematical systems to detect diabetic retinopathy.

Encouraged by the success of the DR detecting algorithm the Google-Sankara Nethralaya team is now working on developing a similar algorithm to detect the progression of diabetic retinopathy and macular oedema.

The Eye donation pioneer leverages youth power and creativity to drive home its critical message

World Tamil Chamber of Commerce

Sankara Nethralaya joined hands with the Nethra Sevak Sangh (NSS) cadre at the Dwaraka Doss Vaishnav Doss college, known for their commitment and service to social causes, to drive home the critical message of ‘Eye Donation’ as part of its city wide celebration of ‘National Eye Donation Fortnight’ (August 25th to Sept 8th). The event witnessed in-depths talks on the various facets of eye donation by senior members of the institution including Mr SVG Subramanian, Senior Manager Administration, gracing the occasion as the chief guest, Mr Hari babu, Manager-CU Shah Eye bank and Mr Ganeshan, Principal, DG Vaishnav College. An entertaining and informative skit by the students, dispelling myths and highlighting facts of eye donation followed by a vibrant exhibition of youth power in terms of a rally with participants holding aloft placards espousing the day’s theme and raising their voice for its cause followed by a most artistic assembly of students in the formation of the human eye were the key highlights of the event.

The exciting awareness creation exercise culminated with distribution of certificates to the participants and a heartfelt vote of thanks by Mr Janakiraman, Social Worker at the CU Shah Eye Bank, Sankara nethralaya

Senior vitreo-retina surgeon from Sankara Nethralaya gets high level exposure and certification in cutting edge technologies of the future

World Tamil Chamber of Commerce

‘Ocular Imaging’ in its broad sense could possibly be cited as the most significant advancement in the clinical evaluation of ophthalmic diseases. The versatile and highly advanced nature of this technology enables the ophthalmologist to ascertain a host of critical parameters like dimension, thickness, qualitative and quantitative measures, values and micron level changes which makes its role critical in the accurate diagnosis and treatment of the entire gamut of retinal diseases. It was a significant forward step for Sankara Nethralaya, an institution in constant pursuit of acquiring the latest ophthalmic technology, know-how, skill sets and hands on training when Dr Aditya Verma, Senior Consultant, Shri Bhagwan Mahaveer Vitreo-retina services, located at its main campus in Chennai, was conferred with a Fellowship in this most niche area by one of the foremost ophthalmic institutions in the world. Dr Aditya Verma completed a most eventful and exciting year (2018) pursuing research in ‘Ocular Imaging’ both as a technology and process in all its manifestations at the Doheny Eye Centre, University of California, Los Angeles, at the end of which his knowledge and skills in the field were acknowledged by awarding of a ‘Fellowship’. He also gained rich experience in Medical Retina at the UCLA clinic where he was involved in patient management as well as treatment.

World Tamil Chamber of Commerce

The exposure and learning of emerging diagnostic modalities involved gaining experience in newer technologies like ultra wide field (FFA&ICT/Color Fundus), OCT angiogram, (spectral domain OCT) which would prove to be a great value addition to the institution’s endeavours in diagnosis and treatment of patients. It is noteworthy to mention here that the Fellowship provided Dr Aditya Verma the hands on skills in working in some of the top global brands like Zeiss, Topcon, Optos etc and machines and processes which are still at an experimental stage in clinical practice, as some of them are awaiting FDA approval.

The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its hearty congratulations to Dr Aditya Verma on being awarded a Fellowship in such a niche area by a non-profit, service oriented ophthalmic institution with a standing of more than 70 years, an institution not only considered to be among the foremost in the world in clinical research and medical education but also one which shares Sankara Nethralaya’s service orientation through its philosophy of conservation, improvement and restoration of human eyesight and wishes him many more significant milestones in his pursuit of knowledge.

VR team from Sankara Nethralaya bring home the Oscar in showcasing innovation in complex retinal surgery

World Tamil Chamber of Commerce

Endophthalmatis could be the nightmare of a surgeon performing any intraocular intervention, occurrence of this painful and highly infectious condition has been found to be higher in cases of Keratoprosthesis than other surgical processes. Hence it is a matter of great pride and joy to the SN family that an audio visual presentation demonstrating the successful overcoming of this daunting and highly prevalent challenge by a team of Consultants from the Shri Bhagwan Mahavir Department of Vitroretinal Services, being recognized with one of the most coveted awards in the world of Retina, at one of the most prestigious topical meets.

World Tamil Chamber of Commerce

We take great pleasure in sharing that the video on the above titled ‘Salvaging an eye with endophthalmatis and permanent Keratoprosthesis’ prepared jointly by Dr Ekta Rishi and Dr Pukhraj Rishi was awarded the ‘Rhett Buckler Award’ considered as the Oscar of the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS). The award assumes special significance because video presentations at the annual ASRS meet assume the scale of participation and competition on par with a film festival and high emphasis is given to clarity of image and presentation, flow and narration as much as to the depth of knowledge/skills shared.

It was a moment of triumph and joy to the SN family when Dr Ekta Rishi consultant at its Bhagwan Mahavir department held aloft the highly impressive 8 pound 24 carat gold plated, Oscar like statuette at the 37th Annual meeting of the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) held at the Hyatt Regency, Chicagoi, Illinois, on the 30th July 2019, to the thundering applause of the select audience from the across the world. The Sankara Nethralaya family conveys its hearty congratulations and good wishes to Dr Ekta Rishi and Dr Pukhraj Rishi for this high honour conferred on their impactful demonstration of overcoming a most challenging condition in VR surgery and wishes them many more achievements and accolades in their professional journey.

Videos showcasing Sankara Nethralaya’s medico engineering marvel and impact of its community services steal the show at high level meet.

World Tamil Chamber of Commerce

Larsen & Toubro Technology Services (LTTS) is the engineering services subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro, the multinational conglomerate. The Vadodra headquartered champion of digital transformation held its Annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partners meet at Bangalore on the 1st and 2nd of August 2019. The idea was to give an opportunity for its diverse CSR deployment partners to assemble, interact and demonstrate their social service initiatives and impact, both to the CSR Principal and among themselves. The L&T group has a long history of support to Sankara Nethralaya, both monetary and through their professional services, construction of the massive 8 storied research block at the main campus, the CU Shah Sankara Nethralaya and the Elite School of Optometry at St. Thomas Mount on a ‘at cost basis’, overseeing the civil and structural work of the large exclusive community hospital coming up at St.Thomas Mount, donating towards setting up the L& T Microbiology Centre at the Kamalnayan Bajaj Institute for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology are a few glorious chapters in this long association. LTTS has been extending support towards conducting Sankara Nethralaya’s cost free outdoor surgical camps with the help of the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) in remote regions of the country since year 2016 and has also presented a 51 seat bus towards transporting its patients as part of its CSR initiative and was an invitee to the meet.

World Tamil Chamber of Commerce

Sankara Nethralaya was represented at the meet by Mr. T.S Parthasarathy, Head of its CSR department and Mr. S.Alagiri, DGM Fund Raising. The senior members of the institution’s awareness creation and resource mobilization wings leveraged the opportunity to showcase its cost free services by screening a highly absorbing video on the MESU, the ‘One of its kind in Asia’ operation theatre on wheels, a medico-engineering marvel developed jointly with the IIT-M, the institution’s flagship initiative against ‘Cataract’ the largest cause of blindness in the country. A utility which travels to the most remote and inaccessible areas and performs the most advanced vision reviving Cataract removal surgeries right at the doorsteps of the most socially and economically backward patients. A poignant short movie titled ‘Vidiyal’ meaning ‘The Dawn’ or ‘New Hope’ capturing the impact of the institution’s cost free community services was also screened at the event

The two audio-visual presentations on Sankara Nethralaya’s community services were extremely well received by LTTS the CSR Principal and drew a round of applause from the large gathering of senior officials representing the other CSR partners, at the high level meet. LTTS acknowledged its appreciation of its CSR partner Sankara Nethralaya’s vital role in fighting rural blindness through ‘Mobile Eye Care’ dispensed by MESU, by presenting a memento which was received on behalf of the institution by Mr. T.S. Parthasarathy.

Sankara Nethralaya’s veteran Vitroretina surgeon and head of its VR department wins high honours for Himalayan lifetime achievement in his field

6th Retina Live 2019

The Upgraded Department of Ophthalmology at the SMS Medical College, Jaipur conducted the ‘6th Retina Live 2019’, the 6th Retinal Congress and 6th VR Surgical meet, under the Aegis of the ‘Jaipur Ophthalmological Society’ (JOS) on the 16th and 17th of June 2019 at Hotel Marriot Jaipur. This most exciting, informative and interactive event witnessed talks on key topics, debates, panel discussions, differing approaches, technology etc by senior Vitroretina specialists from across the country.

It was a moment of great honour and pride to Sankara Nethralaya when Dr Pramod Bhende, Medical Director and Director– Bhagwan Mahaveer Vitroretina services was awarded the highly prestigious ‘Dr BC Sharma Memorial Oration in Vitroretinal Sciences on ‘Pediatric Retinal Detachments

The citation of the award acknowledging his exemplary role and contributions to every sphere of activity that Sankara Nethralaya stands for comes as a great tribute to one of the senior most consultants of the institution and his endearing commitment to each one of them.

The Sankara Nethralaya family salutes its veteran Doctor and wishes him many more accolades in his professional journey.

Congratulations Sir!

A premier, world renowned trade and commerce body acknowledges and honours a great medical professional

World Tamil Chamber of Commerce

The World Tamil Chamber of Commerce (WTCC) is a premium professional body in the forefront of exploring, promoting and developing the trade and commerce of the Tamil community all over the world. It also acknowledges and honours eminent professionals for their service to society. The WTCC held the 3rd edition of its ‘Healthcare Excellence Awards’ on the 11th of may 2019 at the ‘Le Royal Meridian’ Chennai in a grand scale, former Chief Justice and Governor of Kerala Honourable Shri P.Sathasivam graced the occasion as the chief guest and delivered a spirited address to the large gathering from the medical fraternity gathered on the occasion appealing them to serve in the rural parts of the country and to take care of their own health too, as they needed to be healthy to dispense good healthcare to the nation. The event witnessed the honouring of senior medical professionals for their contribution to their given field of specialization.

We take great pleasure and pride in sharing that Dr Pramod Bhende, Medical Director and Director-Bhagwan Mahaveer Vitroretinal services, Sankara Nethralaya was awarded the ‘Medical Excellence Award for Ophthalmology’ at this prestigious meet

Sankara Nethralaya family conveys its hearty greetings and best wishes to Dr Pramod Bhende on this great honour by a renowned body.