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The Champions of Light and Vision get a hands on feel of darkness and despair!

Light and Vision

There is a popular adage in the Tamil language that only when one goes out into the sweltering heat of the hot sun does one realize the pleasure of the cool shade and shelter, it was an extension of this adage when the US gave its classic tribute to the man who leveraged the power of electricity to light up the world.  The President of the USA appealed to every citizen to pay his/her last tribute to Thomas Alva Edison the inventor of the electric bulb when he died in year 1931, not by brightening up the nation by flooding every nook and corner with ‘Light’ through the electric bulb which he invented, as one may have anticipated, what the President emphatically appealed was just the opposite, he requested that every bulb in the homes, streets and offices, commercial establishments be switched off! and the nation be plunged into absolute darkness for two full minutes to remind/demonstrate to the people how the world looked before the discovery of the electric bulb! by the great inventor

Students of the Sankara Nethralaya Academy the academic arm of Sankara Nethralaya the pioneer and champion in dispelling darkness and reviving the joy of vision took part in a novel exercise of experiencing what vision impairment and the despair of darkness in real time by depriving themselves of sight, just as the US President had deprived light to his people many years ago. The novel experiment was conceptualized by Dr Anuja Singh, Vice Principal, TSNA, planned Ms Sarika- Head, Low Vision Clinic and executed by Ms RS.Saranya Head, Vision Enhancement Clinic with amazing support from Mr Srinivas, a trained in independent mobility skills undergoing intensive training in ‘assistive software’ at the Vision Enhancement Clinic, as part of ‘World Optometry Day’ celebrations. To quote the words of Ms Saranya, the idea was to empathize with the visually impaired and understand the pain of blindness and the uncertainties and fear that the visually impaired faced every minute by literally getting into their shoes, by experiencing what ‘not seeing’ is all about.

Light and Vision

The setting for the experiment was seemingly very simple, a group of students had to simply stroll a couple of yards to a make shift tea shop, take their seats and help themselves to a sip of water and some tea which they had to pour into their glasses from different jugs, a strip of cloth over their eyes keeping the light out and making them blindfolded momentarily underlined the power of ‘Vision’ and ‘light’ to the champions of vision and viewers alike in a manner nothing else could have. It was an eye opening spectacle as the participants walked with unsure steps, clinging to each other’s hands for security and an all pervading fear of the unknown, tripping against obstacles as they made their way to the wayside cafe, a distance which took an inordinately longer time to cover than it would normally do. Coffee the caffeine drink is supposed to brighten the drowsy and make them bright but this ‘Blind ‘coffee in the dark’ party’ was a different affair with the guests fumbling for the water jugs, tumblers and coffee mugs and spilling generous quantities of the fluids on themselves, their friends partying with them and the table cloth.

The ‘coffee in the dark’ party’ had some surprise lessons too, participants realized after a while that their other faculties became sharper and rose to the occasion when their main partner was missing in action and students could gauge the environment better with the surrounding sounds and smells but what came as a big surprise to them after the exercise was when they learnt that the man who held them and guided them from tripping and falling was himself a vision challenged person from the Vision Enhancement Clinic. The observations and feedback by Ms Sarika and the participants came as a great learning and strengthened the resolve to serve the visually impaired even more. The eventful evening came to an end with a warm vote of thanks to the students, organizing faculty and spectators for their presence and participation, by Dr Anuja Singh the person behind the drama with a strong lesson.

The taste of the coffee in terms of the lessons learnt would linger in the minds of the organizers, participants and viewers for a long time to come, which was its very objective.

Music for a noble cause warms hearts and raises hope on a cool Dallas weekend

Mrs Sudha Ragunathan

On a cold day of Spring on the March 31, 2019 Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission (OM) Trust joined forces for the third time with the Indian Fine Arts Association (IFAA), Dallas to present the 2019 concert by Padma Bhushan, Mrs Sudha Ragunathan for Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas, USA.

Approximately 500 Dallas musical rasiga’s were warmly welcomed by Mr. Santhanam Mullur, Former Trustee, Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust, USA and the objectives to raise funds for providing free surgeries to the indigent at home.

The new SN OM Trustees Dr Narasimha Reddy Urimindi and Nani Iswara were introduced to the DFW community by Mr. Mullur.

This was followed by a brief Video presentation of Sankara Nethralaya’s community service activities.

Dr Sujatha Subramanian, President, IFAA, Dallas warmly welcomed the community as well and introduced the profile of Padma Bhushan, Mrs Sudha Ragunathan and upcoming eminent youngsters Kamalakiran Vinjamuri on the violin, Akshay Anantha Padmanabhan on the Mridangam and Soumiya Narayanan (Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust) on the Ghatam.

Mrs. Sudha Ragunathan rendered songs that MLV Amma used to sing, Muthuswany Dikshithar and a vast collection of other songs to treat the Carnatic Music rasigas with a brilliant demonstration of her skill, versatility and unique style.

Vote of Thanks was presented by Dr Narasimha Reddy Urimindi, New Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust thanking the IFAA committee members, IFAA volunteers, SN OM Trustees and volunteers and Donors that supported the event by their warm attendance and donations to support the needy at home with free eye surgeries.

The poster exhibits on Sankara Nethralaya activities in India was very well received by all the Dallas Rasiga’s

A veteran and pioneer is honoured with the gold standard in her specialty

APSICON-2018

We take great pride and pleasure in sharing the great news that Dr Nirmala Subramanian one of our senior most Consultants and Professor Emeritus, Oculoplastic Surgery and Senior Consultant at the Department of Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery has been honoured with the highly prestigious ‘APSI – Plastic Surgeon for the Year-2018 award’ instituted by the Dr KS. Shekar Endowment. It was a moment of crowning glory for the veteran and highly respected figure in the field with an international exposure and several ‘Firsts’ to her credit as she walked up to the dais to receive the award considered as the gold standard in the field of plastic surgery from Professor RP Sahi, Retired HOD-Department of Surgery and Professor ML Bhat Vice Chancellor King George Medical College and University Lucknow, to the thunderous applause of the Surgeons fraternity assembled in large number at the ‘APSICON-2018’ the ‘53rd Annual Conference of Association of Plastic Surgeons of India’ held at Lucknow in November 2018. The citation of the award describing the distinguished recipient as a ‘Dedicated Surgeon, Excellent Teacher and Avid Learner’ reflected the qualities of excellence in clinical care, knowledge acquisition and dissemination and research, the founding principles of the institution where she pioneered the ‘Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Services department almost 4 decades back and serves with utmost sincerity and compassion to this day.

The Sankara Nethralaya family puts its hands together for a thunderous standing ovation to its beloved Dr NS and wishes her many more years of service to society, accomplishments and recognitions.

A white paper detailing the creation of a critical vision evaluation utility developed by the institution and its accuracy win the highest recognition for SN team from a most prestigious body

AIOS-IJO Platinum Award

AIOS-IJO Platinum Award

Development of the LogMAR visual acuity charts in various Indian languages and installation of the same in public places to enable the general public do a self check of their visual acuity, a first of its kind initiative by the Elite School of Optometry made headlines when it was implemented a couple of years ago. A white paper detailing the creation and accuracy of this critical vision evaluation utility, authored jointly by the SN team of Dr Kalpa Negiloni, Deepmala Majumdar, Dr Krishna Kumar, Dr Ronnie George and Biman Sen with assistance from Dr Aditya Neog, Dr Medhi J and Choudhary Mitalee which was published in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, was awarded the AIOS-IJO Platinum Award for the ‘Best Scientific Paper’ for year 2018 at the 77th Annual conference of the All India Ophthalmic Society (AIOS) held at Indore.

The SN family congratulates the authors for their intensive work being acknowledged with the highest award by a most prestigious body

Sankara Nethralaya salutes is founding father on his birth centenary

Shri Chimanlal Ujamshibhai Shah is among the foremost of independent India’s philanthropists, educationists and visionaries, a man who is credited with the founding of a large number of educational, healthcare institutions, charitable trusts serving the needy across Gujarat, Mumbai and Chennai. A man who not only helped in the creation of these institutions but also took active interest in their operation and growth.  He is referred to with reverence as the ‘Founding Father’ by the Sankara Nethralaya family as an acknowledgement to the faith he imposed on a young Dr SS.Badrinath and contributed a large sum of money which became the ‘Seed Capital’ for the initiative which would bring back th light of vision and smile to millions, a seed which would become a large banyan tree of relief and pain alleviation. The Sankara Nethralaya family joined thousands all over India in paying their homage and expressing their gratitude to the great man to whom they owed their inception. The presence of his Mrs Minal Shah his daughter  and torch bearer of his noble deeds who was keeping his legacy alive made the event momentous, the invocation compose by her describing him as a ‘Karmayogi’ and ‘Paropakari’ summed up his personality and the admiration of a beloved daughter and set the tone for the day’s proceedings. Recalling the man who quietly joined a queue of members from the general public to make his donation in response to an appeal made by the then Chief Minister Dr MG Ramachandran, Dr TS Surendran,Vice Chairman Sankara Nethralaya and a man associated with it almost since inception described him as an epitome of Gujarati hospitality and charity and the seed he sowed having grown into a large banyan tree. Speaking on the occasion Dr Girish Rao described him as a ‘Karmayogi’ who made a difference to the world he lived through his massive funding of healthcare and educational institutions a man who lived life in his own terms, eminent educationist and advocate Lion Haridas described him as a man who went about his charity with humility and silence.

Real time tribute came in the form of a large number of students receiving their Fellowship in their chosen areas of specialization, a fulfillment of his dream. A highly moved Minal Shah expressed her joy at her father being referred to as ‘Founding Father’ describing her father as a strong willed, benevolent, sincere intellectual who had the highest faith and confidence in Dr SS.Badrinath and his dream of eradicating blindness, which resulted in the divine alliance, the illustrious daughter of an illustrious father emphasized to the graduating Fellows that they were torchbearers of this rich legacy of selfless service which thy should imbibe and uphold.

The day also witnessed the presenting of the Ram Dhingra Educational scholarships to children of deserving employees.

Stalwarts join the SN family in recalling the greatness of a great friend and supporter of the institution

Members of the Sankara Nethralaya gathered in large numbers at the Sri VD.Swami auditorium to pay their homage and express their gratitude to one of the institution’s greatest friend and supporter, admirer and well iwher, a man whose generous contribution has special significance to its knowledge dissemination initiatives as it laid the foundation for many young minds to acquire knowledge,skills and grow, the contribution also assumed significance as it was the life time saving of an upright civil servant, almost all that he could manage to set aside from his personal income. Dr Lily Therese and Dr Angayarkanni Senior Scientists and Researchers from the institution’s research wing spoke in glowing terms of the man who did not give lengthy sermons but translated his dream through actions a man who embodied the adage ‘Simple living and high thinking’ a man who helped in creating and operating an educational institution (VIBS) which would create the building blocks of future India by imparting education and skills to a large number of students every year, an instititon which has the rare distinction of creating 60 PhD scholars, they recalled the qualities of humility, meticulousness, punctuality.

The presence of a diverse range of eminent personalities like Shri N.Ram, Managing Director, ‘The Hindu’, Mr AR Venkatachalapathi from the Madras Institute of Management studies, Shri Tiruppur Krishnan, Editor, Amudhsurabhi, Swami Vimurthanandaji, Head-RK Mutt, Shri Venugopal, Chief Trustee, RK Mutt was a sign of the multifaceted personality and great man that late Iravatham Mahadevan was. The distinguished speakers who shared their time spoke high about different facets of his character, they hailed him as a intellectual with a scientific temperament, open to new ideas, a man who believed in evidence based approach a researcher, administrator, philosopher, extraordinary litterateur a fearless commentator whose period was a golden age in Tamil journalism and above all a man who found great joy in the act of giving.

A healthcare pioneer and his landmark institution find their pride of place at niche ‘Science outreach program’

The Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), founded by world famous Mathematician Alladi Ramakrishnan in 1962, is an autonomous national institution for fundamental research in the areas of Theoretical Physics, Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science and Computational Biology. The highly prestigious Chennai based research centre engages itself in a niche exercise of demystifying complex scientific algorithms and equations by presenting them in a lively, illustrative narration to anyone with a passion to science. The 4th edition of this immensely popular annual ‘Science Outreach’ initiative named ‘Science at the Sabha’ will be held at the Music Academy’ TTK Road, Mylapore, Chennai between 4:30pm – 7:00pm on Sunday the 24th of February 2019

While the knowledge dissemination proceedings at the auditorium would showcase the complex algorithms and equations of Science and its wonders in its multiple facets, in a most alluring manner, the organizers have decided to showcase the human side of Science, Science in the service of man and how exemplary men and women of Science leveraged it to alleviate pain and suffering of mankind, by holding a photo exhibition at the lounge, showcasing this great city’s glorious tradition in Science, Mathematics, Education and Public Service along with the great visionaries and architects and their landmark institutions that helped in defining them.

It is a matter of great pride to every one of us that the organizers have recognized ‘Chief’ and Sankara Nethralaya as part of the glorious Science legacy of the city and the exhibition would include proud images of both.

Please make it convenient to attend this most enlightening and enjoyable session, entry is free but pre-registration is mandatory so do remember to register online as an attendee by clicking the link below

http://www.imsc.res.in/triveni
Happy learning!

The grandmaster of Uvea scales another glorious peak in his long uphill climb

AIOS-Adenwala award-2018

It was a proud moment for every member of Sankara Nethralaya as its internationally acclaimed expert in Uvea, a great teacher as much as a great clinician and researcher, Member International Uveitis study group and executive council member, International Ocular Inflammation Society, Dr Jyotirmay Biswas was awarded the highly prestigious ‘AIOS-Adenwala award-2018’ for his invaluable contributions to ophthalmology and the AIOS, at the 77th annual conference of the All India Ophthalmological Society held at Indore between the 14th to 19th February 2019. The scientific committee of the AIOS acknowledged and commended the veteran’s ‘Journey in Uveitis through 28 years’ which witnessed clinical care of the highest order, mastery over the subject exhibited through an astonishing number of publications and white papers on the subject and its related areas in highly prestigious peer reviewed journals and outstanding teaching and training endeavours in the field.

The Sankara Nethralaya family salutes and congratulates Dr Jyotirmay Biswas its simple, unassuming Director of Uveitis and Ocular Pathology, known fondly as Dr JB, for this outstanding recognition in his field which makes him a member of a select group of ophthalmologists that includes Dr G.Venkatswamy, in the ‘200th year of Indian Ophthalmology’.

We are proud of you Sir!

In-depth talks by renowned subject matter experts open the floodgates to better understanding and management of ophthalmic disorders

In-depth talks by Dr Mohamed javed Ali eminent Dacrylogist heading the Govind Sekasria Institute of Dacrylogy at the LV Prasad Eye Hospital and Dr Carlos Pavesio, Medical Retinal Director,MoorfieldsHospital, UK helped in a broader understanding of the subject for participants from Sankara Nethralaya and external attendees. Mirage-The Myth of Watering a conference organized by the Department of Oculoplasty proved to be an oasis of knowledge with the world renowned expert on dacrylogy especially the lacrrimal drainage system sharing his views on the subject. The eminent ophthalmologist underlined the need to be a good clinician and scientist to make an impact. The guest lecture by Dr Carlos Pavesio the highly acclaimed authority on the Retina began with a fulsome praise to one of the the host institution boasting of one of the world’s largest and well equipped and manned by experts Vitreo-Retina department in the world, hailing Sankara Nethralaya as an amazing institution the eminent ophthalmologist observed that coming to the institution has always been a great learning and adding to his experience, The expert gave an elaborate talk covering topics like gluco therapy in treating uveitis, the reservation that purists in the field had to the usage of drugs which they termed as ‘toxic’, macular edema,modalities for ocular dry syndrome,VEGF in Uveitis, anti VEGF perceoptions, AMD etc. The talks helped in a healthy exchange of views and dissemination of knowledge.

The Sankara Nethralaya academy conducts an extensive health check of the health care industry

Healthcare Management

As an academic institution committed to dissemination of knowledge for the common good of society and adopting a holistic view to healthcare delivery, the Sankara Nethralaya Academy conducted a high power seminar titled ‘National Seminar on Emerging Paradigms in Healthcare Management’ on the 9th of February 2019. The objective and goal of the exercise was summed succinctly as an attempt to enhance healthcare service leading to a better and healthier society through collaboration between the science of healthcare and art of management by Shri G.Senthil Kumar, Assistant Professor, TSNA and active organizer of the event. The seminar could possibly termed as first of its kind as it dwelt in-depth into both the operational challenges of dispensing healthcare in terms of attrition of resource, branding, marketing and on the other hand on the healthcare delivery vis a vis the apportioning of costs, roles of the service provider, government bodies etc. Describing ‘Health’ as nothing but the absence of ‘ailments’ Dr S.Ramani, Principal TSNA highlighted that in the olden days man lived in perfect alignment with nature but today we are challenged by health issues disrupting life in spite of technological advancements and only disruptive technology can address the same and the challenges that lay ahead in healthcare dispensing are quality and affordability. Dr Anuja Singh, Vice Principal, TSNA leveraged the opportunity to showcase her institution and highlight its achievements to the distinguished audience and attendees.  Speaking on the occasion Dr R.Chandrasekhara Menon, Dean, Kalasalingam University, Srivilliputur went into the basics of healthcare dispensing in terms of who should profit out of the entire operation the beneficiary, hospital the government, the insurance firm? Delivering the keynote address Dr TS. Selvavinayagam, Additional Director, Tamil Nadu health System project an arm of the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of TN emphasised the advantages of preventive care over curative care in terms of cost and avoiding human suffering leading to better quality of life. The senior bureaucrat underlined the high advantage of scale when the government procures healthcare (drugs, diagnosis and clinical care) from the private healthcare providers and dispenses it to the public which would drastically reduce the cost of consumption per patient. Dr Selvavinayagam concluded his keynote address with high word of praise for the TSNA in terms of its infrastructure, trailblazing courses and quality of knowledge dissemination. The highlight of the seminar was a panel discussion by experts from different fields on the topic’ Healthcare – Quality Vs affordability’