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The pioneer and leader in children’s eye screening reiterates its premium position with a path breaking study!

The Elite School of Optometry (ESO) has over the years carved a niche for itself as a pioneer and leader in the field of children’s eye screening, while childhood is the best stage for early detection and timely treatment of ophthalmic issues, such screening comes with its own challenges as children may not be as communicative on their symptoms as adults and may often be unaware of the same given their playfulness. The ESO can take pride in developing specific protocols that enhance the quality of children eye screening in terms of better eliciting of symptoms, expertise in conducting eye screening of children suffering from speech/hearing impairment and thoughtful measures like providing break proof glasses for a playful segment who are always on the run, providing glasses with attractive colors and motifs that attract children, thereby increasing usage of spectacles in a reluctant group. The ESO was chosen by ‘ORBIS International’, the worldwide eye care and relief body as its partner in service in conducting free eye screening camps for school children of government schools in rural Tamil Nadu and holds its pride of place in the ‘Limca Book of Records’ for screening the highest number of children in a single day.

Now a high level study and findings on the ocular health of this segment by Ms Rizwana Jameel Husaindeen, Faculty member, Elite School of Optometry (ESO) has been awarded with a PhD for its ground breaking findings in the area of ‘binocular vision care’. The study brings out the disturbingly high prevalence of non-strabismic binocular vision anomalies among school children in rural and urban Tamil Nadu. The findings of the study have drawn a high level of interest owing to their broad spectrum coverage ranging from the difference in the current prevalence and existing statistics of such visual morbidity, break up of specific issues, impact of the ailment on the academic performance of the child, better testing methodologies, effective steps to combat such morbidity, better models of study and analysis. The study titled ‘Binocular Vision Anomalies and Normative Data (BAND) of Binocular Vision Parameters among School Children between 7 and 17 Years of Age In Rural and Urban Tamil Nadu’ was conducted under the guidance of Dr Krishna Kumar R Principal, Elite School of Optometry  (Supervisor) and Co-supervisors Dr. Ronnie Jacob George, Director Research, Vision Research Foundation, Senior Consultant, Glaucoma Services, Sankara Nethralaya, Dr. Meenakshi S, Director Academics, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Ophthalmology Department, Sankara Nethralaya, Dr Suman Kapur, Senior Professor and Dean, Universitywide, Head – Department of Biological Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Hyderabad Campus and presented on 19th June 2017 at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Hyderabad Campus. The external examiner of the thesis was Prof B R Shamanna, Professor, School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad.

Sankara Nethralaya family congratulates Dr.Rizwana on her being awarded a Doctorate by a renowned academic body and expresses its deep appreciation for her commendable research on a subject not studied in such detail in the past and its critical findings which promise to open new vistas in understanding and treating visual morbidities in this category among a sensitive and vulnerable age group. A significant step indeed in the institution’s march towards total eradication of blindness!

The Doctorate to Ms Rizwana assumes special significance on another note too! it gives the Elite School of Optometry the pride of being the only optometry institution in the nation with the distinction of having 7 of its faculty members honoured with Doctorates. The entire Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its high appreciation of this excellent exhibition of knowledge and subject matter expertise by members of the ESO and salutes the rare achievement of its academic arm.

Landmark collaboration between nation’s premier optometry institution and a highly respected seat of academics and research promises to take Optometry to its next level

The 7th of June 2017 marked a giant stride for the art and science of optometry, the critical study of light and refraction and its impact on vision, as the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology and Research Academy, Thanjavur the premium arts and technology institution popularly known as SASTRA and the Elite School of Optometry (ESO) the academic arm of Sankara Nethralaya credited as the pioneer and exclusive research and study center for this niche field, entered into an important academic collaboration under which the two institutions would be offering the 4 year Bachelor in Optometry course and two year Master in Optometry courses jointly. The collaboration could be described as the culmination of an MoU between the institutions to exchange knowledge, further joint research, study and engage in other academic endeavors, entered back in year 2008. As both the academic partners were keen on offering the optometry courses as a joint program, the proposal was taken as the 9th agenda point at the Academic Council Meeting held at the SASTRA University campus at Thanjavur on the date mentioned above and was approved unanimously by the ACM committee to go ahead with the programmes from this academic year.

Dr. Meenakshi S, Director,Academics, Dr. Krishna Kumar R, Principal, ESO and Ms. Anuradha, Lecturer, ESO, represented Sankara Nethralaya at the meeting under the guidance of Dr. S.S.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya, Mr V. Vaidyanathan, Board member, ESO, Dr. K.S. Vasan, MD, Dr. G.S.Rao, Medical Director and Ms.Akila Ganesan, Director Administration, Sankara Nethralaya. As per the understanding finalized between the two institutions, students pursuing their undergraduate program would spend the first two years of their program at SASTRA and the remaining 2 years at the Elite School of Optometry.

The collaboration marks the coming together of two institutions with a common passion for excellence in academics, adherence to stringent quality parameters, constant innovation, research and high ethical standards and would facilitate a synergy of their areas of strength and expertise which would translate into a greater learning experience and exposure for the students and a deeper study of the science of Optometry. The collaboration promises to fulfill the dream of Dr. S.S.Badrinath to take Optometry to its next level in the country by enhancing its scope and impact which would enable technology driven health care, accessible and affordable to the common man.

A large scale study and its critical findings on the detrimental impact of ultraviolet rays on the human eye win high recognition for ESO faculty member

While most of us recommend the wearing of Sunglasses when venturing out on a sunny day to reduce the brightness of the Sun’s rays entering the eye to tolerable limits and to help ease the strain caused to the eyes, we are blissfully oblivious to the fact that unprotected, direct exposure of the eye to ultra violet rays from the Sun is not just a matter of discomfort or irritation but something that has more deeper and critical consequences, as a recent study by the Elite School of Optometry establishes.

A first of its kind, large scale and in-depth study by Ms Rashima Asokan, faculty member, Elite School of Optometry, on the detrimental impact of UV rays on the human eye, conducted as a part of the ‘Chennai Eye Disease Incidence Study’ proved to be a startling revelation on the damage that exposure to a high degree of sunlight can cause to the human eye. The study  titled ‘Quantification of Ocular Ultraviolet-B Radiation Exposure in a South Indian Population and its Association with Ocular Surface Disorders, Pseudoexfoliation, Cataract and Age-related Macular Degeneration’ also throws light on an interesting and hitherto unknown syndrome, the difference in lifetime ocular UV exposure between the rural and urban populations of the country, a key factor in assessing the degree of difference in the prevalence of diseases such as pterygium, pseudoexfoliation, spheroidal degeneration, cataract and age related macular degeneration among the rural and urban populations. The study recommends that something as simple as wearing spectacles/sunglasses can act as an effective precautionary and preventive measure against the damage caused by the UV rays and provide a safeguard against the above mentioned ailments, it also paves way for future research initiatives and hospital based studies on UV exposure levels among those suffering from the above ailments and those not affected by the same, creating online UV exposure assessment tools and so on.

A first of its kind, large scale and in-depth study by Ms Rashima Asokan, faculty member, Elite School of Optometry, on the detrimental impact of UV rays on the human eye, conducted as a part of
the ‘Chennai Eye Disease Incidence Study’ proved to be a startling revelation on the damage that exposure to a high degree of sunlight can cause to the human eye. The study  titled ‘Quantification
of Ocular Ultraviolet-B Radiation Exposure in a South Indian Population and its Association with Ocular Surface Disorders, Pseudoexfoliation, Cataract and Age-related Macular Degeneration’ also
throws light on an interesting and hitherto unknown syndrome, the difference in lifetime ocular UV exposure between the rural and urban populations of the country, a key factor in assessing the
degree of difference in the prevalence of diseases such as pterygium, pseudoexfoliation, spheroidal degeneration, cataract and age related macular degeneration among the rural and urban
populations. The study recommends that something as simple as wearing spectacles/sunglasses can act as an effective precautionary and preventive measure against the damage caused by the UV rays and
provide a safeguard against the above mentioned ailments, it also paves way for future research initiatives and hospital based studies on UV exposure levels among those suffering from the above
ailments and those not affected by the same, creating online UV exposure assessment tools and so on.

The findings of the study conducted under the supervision of Dr Ronnie George (Director Research, Vision Research Foundation, Senior Consultant, Glaucoma Services, Sankara Nethralaya) and Co-supervisor: Dr Suman Kapur, Senior Professor and Dean (University-wide) Head – Department of Biological Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Hyderabad Campus was presented on 15th June 2017, at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Hyderabad Campus. Dr Padmaja Kumari Rani, Senior Consultant, Smt. Kanuri Santhamma Centre for Vitreo Retinal diseases, Kallam Anji Reddy campus, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad was the external examiner to the presentation. The direct and immediate impact of the findings of the study drew a high level of appreciation by the external reviewers and its far reaching results were published in highly prestigious, peer reviewed journals.

Sankara Nethralaya expresses its high appreciation to Ms Rashima Asokan for her painstaking effort towards scientifically establishing the harmful impact of the Sun’s UV rays on the human eye and suggesting precautions against the same, a most appropriate and meaningful exercise in a tropical country where the Sun beats down with all its brightness almost all through the year and conveys its hearty Congratulations!! on being honoured with a doctorate for her most relevant findings.

Hands-on Summer Training programme by the Vidyasagar Institute of Bio-Medical Science (8th – 26th May 2017)

The ‘Hands-on-summer training Programme” a critical part of Sankara Nethralaya’s ongoing knowledge dissemination initiatives, conducted annually by the Vidyasagar Institute of Bio-Medical Science (VIBS), a Unit of Medical Research Foundation (MRF) with an objective of imparting real time knowledge and experience to post graduate students in their chosen fields of specialization was conducted this year between 8thMay and 26th May 2017 at the Basic Medical Sciences Laboratories located in the Kamalnayan Bajaj Institute for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (KNBIRVO) Building at the Sankara Nethralaya Main campus. A total of 23 candidates registered for the program and were assigned as per their preference in the following specialty departments (6 in R.S. Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 6 in SN ONGC Genetics & Molecular Biology and 11 in L & T Microbiology Research Centre).

All the participants performed well in the evaluation conducted at the end of the programme by the three departments where the training was imparted, giving a sense of professional fulfillment to the organizers and faculty members. Dr. K. Lily Therese, coordinator, VIBS organised the valedictory function on 26th May 2017 after the successful completion of the program. The participants were requested to share their impressions and experiences on the session to enable the organizers to gauge the effectiveness of the same and all of them gave a good feedback on the training imparted to them, rating it as excellent. The faculty members and the Scientists involved in conducting the programme also shared their interesting experiences with the students. The participants were highly satisfied with the ‘Hands on training programme’ and had a high word of praise for the faculty members who helped them to understand and learn the various advanced techniques. The participants were requested to share the acquired knowledge and impart the skills to their juniors and batch mates in their respective colleges, in keeping with Sankara Nethralaya’s philosophy of disseminating knowledge for the common good. Dr.H.N.Madhavan, Director and Senior Professor of Microbiology & VIBS & Dr.S.Mathavan, Head of SN ONGC Department of Genetics & Molecular Biology addressed the participants and distributed the certificates to the successful participants during the valedictory function.

The function came to an end with a warm Vote of Thanks by Dr. N.Angayarkanni, HOD, R.S.Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology. She expressed her gratitude to the faculty, scientists and technical staff involved in training the students, the management 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 train Post graduate students from various Science & Arts Colleges & Research Institutions.

The function came to an end with a warm Vote of Thanks by Dr. N.Angayarkanni, HOD, R.S.Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology. She expressed her gratitude to the faculty, scientists
and technical staff involved in training the students, the management 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 train Post graduate students from various Science & Arts Colleges & Research Institutions.

A moment of crowning glory for an institution committed to alleviating pain and suffering through service with a ‘personal touch’!

It was a moment of great pride to the institution founded on the principle of cost free eye care to the rich and poor without disparity and with a personal touch, when the administrator of its community ophthalmology wing ‘Jaslok Community Ophthalmology Center’ (JCOC), Shri V.Sivakumar was honoured with the highly prestigious ‘Seva Ratna Award’ – 2016, by well known civic body and service organization ‘EXNORA INTERNATIONAL’. The award citation affirms that the man being honoured has made ‘the world a better place today’ through his stellar service, which succinctly captures the very essence and purpose of Sankara Nethralaya.

The award was presented by Honourable Justice M.V. Muralidharan, Judge, Madras High Court at a glittering award ceremony held on the 7th of May 2017 at Vani Mahal, T Nagar, in the August presence of Shri P.Durairasu, IFS, Additional Principal Conservator of Forests, Government of Tamil Nadu, Srimathi M.Vijayalakshmi, IAS, Deputy Commissioner–Health, Greater Chennai Corporation and Dr. M.B. Nirmal-Founder EXNORA INTERNATIONAL.

Let us put our hands together for a round of resounding applause and extend our hearty Congratulations to Shri V.Sivakumar on being conferred with this rare honour!

An institution governed by the principle of service to mankind pays homage to a Guru who championed the cause ‘Love All Serve All’

An institution strongly committed to the dictum ‘Manava Seva, Madhava Seva’ which implies that service to mankind is service to the Almighty, Sankara Nethralaya observed the ‘Aradhana’ of Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba, the Saint who espoused this cause as his philosophy and teaching, with great reverence and passion. It is noteworthy that the day is observed as ‘Human Values Day’ the world over in deference to his doctrine that the practice of universal human values leads to good citizenship and enriches the quality of life.

The lounge of the Mahyco block at Sankara Nethralaya’s main campus wore a festive look on the 24th of April 2017 with colourful festoons and a beautiful floral decor laid at the feet of the Guru and Spiritual Master for millions of devotees from all faiths and creeds spread across the world, a modern day Messiah who continues to inspire and set an example to the world with his timeless teachings.

The venue came live to the mellifluous and emotive rendering of Sai Bhajans by Dr S. Meenakshi, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Ophthalmology Department, Shri Jayprakash the front office in-charge at the Kamalnayan Bajaj Research Centre, a group of Sai devotees from the Sankara Nethralaya Women’s auxiliary (SWAN) and spirited chanting of bhajans and keerthans by the large gathering of employees and relatives of patients assembled on the occasion.

The spirit of Manave Seva strongly advocated by the great Guru was captured on his Aradhana by a generous grant made by well wisher and friend of Sankara Nethralaya Shri Alok Kumar Somani, Director, Blakburn & Co Pvt Ltd, Kolkata, towards supporting the community services of the institution, the contribution made towards alleviating the suffering of the poor and needy, made on the auspicious occasion was received on behalf of Sankara Nethralaya by Srimathi Akila Ganesan, Director- Administration.

The joyous, auspicious and momentous event concluded with Mangala Arathi to the God in human form, by Shri Narayanan, Manager, Kamalnayan Bajaj Institution for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and distribution of Prasadam to all attendees.

State of Art study on the prevalence of ophthalmic disorders among members of consanguineous families, by Sankara Nethralaya researcher is recognized with a Doctorate by nation’s prestigious seat of education

It gives us great pleasure and joy to share with members of the Sankara Nethralaya family that Ms. S. Srilekha from the SN ONGC Genetics & Molecular Biology Department, Kamalnayan Bajaj Institute for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the research arm of Sankara Nethralaya has successfully completed the viva voce examination for her PhD thesis titled “Genetic Analysis of Consanguineous South Indian Families with Leber Congenital Amaurosis and Retinitis Pigmentosa using Homozygosity Mapping” at the  BITS – Hyderabad campus. Her external examiner was Dr. Chitra Kannabiran, Scientist, Molecular Genetics Laboratory from L.V.Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad.

Ms Srilekha pursued her research and study on this highly critical topic and made her observations under the able assistance and supervision of Dr. N. Soumittra, Associate Professor, SN ONGC Genetics & Molecular Biology Department.  Her thesis work and presentation were extremely well received and appreciated. Sankara Nethralaya family conveys its hearty Congratulations to Dr. S. Srilekha on her proud achievement and to her supervisor Dr.N.Soumittra for successfully mentoring and guiding her first PhD student!!! and wishes them many more accolades and recognitions.

Head of Sankara Nethralaya’s niche department chosen to spearhead Australia’s initiatives to promote bilateral relationship with the South Asia region

We take immense pride in sharing that Ms. Jameel Rizwana Husaindeen, Head of Binocular Vision Therapy Clinic, Sankara Nethralaya and Lecturer, Elite School of Optometry (ESO) is among the 10 elite faculty members from India to be honoured as ‘Australia Award – Endeavour Ambassador’ by the Department of Education and Training, Australian High Commission, New Delhi, to foster bilateral relations between Australia and the South Asia region through collaborative education and research programs.

Please click here for a detailed account of the award and the challenging role of the awardees

Sankara Nethralaya’s eye bank wins highest accreditation in its field!

It was a moment of crowning glory for the Sankara Nethralaya family when the CU Shah Eye Bank, the institution’s most advanced and well equipped facility and key player in its battle against corneal blindness was awarded the ‘Quality Certificate’ by ‘SightLife’ a high profile member of the ‘International Agency for the prevention of Blindness’ (IAPB) and non-profit solely focused on eliminating corneal blindness the world over. The CU Shah Eye Bank named after one of the institution’s earliest and most generous supporters, has been a part of Sankara Nethralaya almost since its inception, the resource, a critical partner in treating corneal blindness has also been in the forefront of creating awareness on eye donations in the country and enjoys the reputation of being among the oldest and well administered eye banks in the country, although it was yet to be formally certified for its quality and functioning.

The long overdue recognition was fulfilled when SightLife, the world’s leading body which lays quality guidelines and norms, monitors and evaluates eye banks on the most stringent parameters the world over, accredited the facility with its ‘Quality Certificate’. The process was set in motion when Shri K.Hari Babu, Manager CU Shah Eye Bank and his team initiated the compilation of a directory on quality procedures, processes and best practices governing eye bank operations the world over combined with Sightlife’s own directives formalizing eye bank operations and quality standards for eye banks in India, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Eye Bank Associations of India. This exhaustive work proposed to serve as a ‘Standard operating Procedure’ (SOP) for the eye bank was prepared with expert guidance and assistance from Senior Consultants of the institution actively involved in the management and growth of the CU Shah Eye Bank almost since its inception, namely Dr Prema Padmanabhan, Medical Director, Eye bank, Dr Rama Rajagopal, Deputy Director, Eye Bank and Dr N.Radhika Senior Consultant, who also played the key role of the editor of the document. The SOP was presented to the world body and approved by it, as a next step the members of  SightLife were invited for a first hand observation of the functioning of the CU Shah Eye bank in compliance with the aforesaid parameters. The auditors from SightLife conducted their audit on the critical functionalities and capabilities of an eye bank namely donor eligibility, tissue recovery, processing storage, tissue evaluation and distribution and completed the same in September 2016 the audit team was thoroughly satisfied with their observations, which manifested itself as an overwhelming 100% pass!! for the facility.

The ‘Quality Certificate’ was received from SightLife on behalf of CU Shah Eye Bank, Sankara Nethralaya by Shri K.Hari Babu, at a glittering awarding ceremony at the SightLife Managers Annual meet, held at the Taj Vivanta, New Delhi on 4th January 2017, the award was presented by Ms Claire Bonilla, Chief Global Officer, SightLife in the August presence of Ms Shubhi Sood, Quality Assurance officer, SightLife India and Shri Atul Kapoor, Asia-Pacific Manager, SightLife. It is noteworthy to mention here that the CU Shah Eye Bank is the first Eye Bank in the State to be honoured with this high accreditation.

In a rare gesture of its appreciation of his initiative and efforts the leader and forerunner setting and implementing quality standards for eye banks, certified the Manager of the CU Shah Eye Bank and driving force behind winning the accreditation, Shi Hari Babu as a prompt and punctual ‘Time Keeper’ at the awarding ceremony.

The Sankara Nethralaya family conveys its deep appreciation to Shri Hari Babu for his sincere efforts in streamlining and enhancing the operations of the CU Shah Eye Bank with expert assistance from senior members of the institution and expresses its hearty Congratulations!! To him for the honour bestowed on him and the branch of the institution managed by him, by the global leader and partner committed to eliminating corneal blindness.

Three ‘National Board for accreditation of Healthcare Providers’ (NABH) accredited centers, an in-house laboratory quality certified by the ‘National Board for accreditation of Laboratories’ (NABL) the nation’s highest quality certifications and now an international ‘Quality Certificate’ for its eye bank; the wheel has gone a full circle indeed for an institution committed to quality and nothing but quality in all its endeavors.

Senior anaesthesiologist from Sankara Nethralaya makes a critical contribution to the practice of ‘Ophthalmic regional blocks’

It was a glorious moment for the institution which can take justifiable pride in underlining the critical need to develop ophthalmic anaesthesiology as a distinct and specialized branch of anaesthesiology, the institution which played a key role in the formation of the Ophthalmic Forum of the Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists (OFISA) and its tireless champion Dr VV.Jaichandran, Senior Anaesthesiologist and Organizing Secretary of OFISA. After a series of laurels and accolades for his path breaking findings, at the Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists Conference (ISACON-2012), World Congress of Ophthalmic Anaesthesia (WCOA-2012), Ophthalmic Forum of the Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists Conference (OFISACON -2013), British Ophthalmic Anaesthesia Society meet in 2015 (BOAS-2015). Dr VV.Jaichandran was invited as an expert guest speaker at University of Berne and conduct a hands on workshop for needle blocks at the satellite symposium with workshop/wet lab to reality at the Jules Gonin Eye Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland and at a workshop titled Tecniche di anestesia in oftalmogia and workshop anestesia peribulbare at the Ospidale San Guiseppe, Milan, Italy during mid February 2017. Reporting the event in Reseau Ophthalmo Anesthesiologique Helvetique, Switzerland’s premium magazine on ophthalmology, Dr Friedrich Lersch who was a participant in these events commented that Dr VVJaichandran’s lecture and hands on training were a great learning experience for the anaesthesiologists of Berne and his talk titled ‘Ophthalmic Anaesthesia practice in India’s largest Eye Care Hospital’ and ‘Anatomy for regional blocks’ would not be forgotten for years to come, by the audience.

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Madras) has recently accredited the expert in ophthalmic anaesthesia as a co-inventor of the “Real-time view mannequin’ for practising regional ophthalmic blocks, a device which promises to enhance the process significantly. Readers would recall that his in-depth workshop on ‘Simulation in regional blocks using ‘eye -practising orbital device (POD) along with Mr Biswarup Mukherjee of IIT-M at the WCOA-2012 at Ankara won critical acclaim and triggered great interest in the real-time usage and availability of the device and its likely cost, with the distinguished audience. The invention is a result of the collaborative and concerted research efforts between Dr VV.Jaichandran and the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-M). Patent for the product has been applied for at the national level and it is expected to be available commercially once the same is received.

We take great pride in sharing with the Sankara Nethralaya family that Dr VV.Jaichandran has in a rare gesture of goodwill and reciprocity to the institution, pledged to donate his share of the ‘Royalty’ or recurring sale proceeds of the device to the ‘Medical Research Foundation’. The Management and members of the Sankara Nethralaya family express their hearty Congrats to Dr VV.Jaichandran for his trailblazing contributions to the field of ophthalmic anaesthesia and his role in developing this critical device which would go a long way in enhancing its practice. We would also like to express our sincere appreciation to him for committing the rewards of his hard work to his institution, in the true spirit of ‘Disseminating of Knowledge for the common good’ one of its founding principles.