1st Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan Memorial Scientific Session 9 Sep 2020

Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan, fondly called as Raji, who headed the contact lens clinic for almost two decades, epitomized leadership, courage, resilience, dedication, perfection, and innovation. She brought in all the best practices and advancements in the field of contact lenses and specialty contact lenses to Sankara Nethralaya that raised the status of the contact lens clinic at SN to the Numero Uno position.

Raji graduated from the prestigious Elite school of Optometry (ESO) in 1998 and went ahead to pursue her M.Phil and Ph.D. in contact lenses while continuing to serve at SN. She held a number of first-of-its-kind accolades including a Ph.D. in the field of specialty contact lenses, PROSE clinical fellowship from the Boston Foundation for Sight, USA to becoming the Asia Pacific Regional President of the executive board of the “International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE)”. She became a Fellow of the International Association of Contact Lens Educators (FIACLE) in 2000, obtained FSLS a fellowship from the scleral lens education society in 2014, awarded the first initiated, ‘Educator of the Year’ award in the field of contact lens in Asia pacific region for the year 2014, received the Fellowship from the British Contact Lens Association (FBCLA) in the year 2014, Fellowship from the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) in 2016, and served as the Asia Pacific – President for IACLE. The proudest moment in her life was authoring her first book on “Trouble Shooting and Problem Solving in Contact Lens Practice,” which was released during the ESO’s International Vision Science and Optometry Conference in 2015 by her revered Guru Mahatria Ra. She had also authored a chapter on “Role of Contact Lens in Different Environment” in ‘Dr. Santanam’s Text book of Occupational Optometry’ and also contributed a chapter on “Cornea and Contact Lens” in Peyman’s Ophthalmology.

The American Academy of Optometry has honored Raji with a posthumous honorary Diplomate in the Cornea, Contact Lens and Refractive Therapy (CCLRT) section – the highest recognition in the field one could possibly ever get right now. This shows the exemplary clinician researcher that Raji was across the global fraternity!

On her fond memory, the Medical Research Foundation had organized a Memorial Scientific Session on her birthday, September 9, 2020 to celebrate her legacy in contact lens and research. The first Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan Memorial Scientific Session was a virtual conference with a live telecast on YouTube. The conference brought together budding clinicians and researchers from contact lens and optometry background.

Prof.Edward S. Bennett, Executive Director and President of GP Lens Institute, Clinical Features Editor of the Contact lens Spectrum, Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri – St. Louis College of Optometry, was the Oration speaker. His oration on “Indications and fitting of corneal GP designs – Has it changed over the years and how?” enlightened the audience with insights and journey of GP lenses

The Keynote speaker was Dr. R. Krishnakumar, freelance Optometrist and Educationalist and Former Principal of Elite School of Optometry. His address on “Integrated practice model for Optometrists in India” was very informative to the upcoming optometrists.

The session had a panel discussion by experts in the field of contact lens, Dr. Anitha Arvind, Specialty Contact Lens Practitioner, Co-educator for Rose-k lenses and Reviewer for Contact lens and Anterior Eye, Mr. Preetam Kumar, Consultant Optometrist, Cornea and Contact Lens Services, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Ms. Rinu Thomas, Assistant Professor, Department of Optometry, Manipal Institute of Health Professionals and Mr. Asif Iqbal, Senior Optometrist, Sankara Nethralaya. The discussion was on “Specialty Contact Lenses in Ocular Surface Disorders – Present and Future”. The discussion was based on the common challenges faced by practitioners in the clinic and the way to handle it professionally. The recent advances in specialty lenses for Ocular surface disorders and its practice in India was also discussed.

The scientific session consisted of e-posters, oral presentations and panel discussion. Abstracts were also available in the E-abstract book in the website. A total of 17 E-posters and 5 oral presentations were short-listed, out of which, 2 best E-posters and 1 best oral presentation were awarded a certificate and an award money of Rs.10,000 each by the Medical Research Foundation. The winners for the best E-posters were, Mr. Asif Iqbal, Senior Optometrist, Contact Lens department, Sankara Nethralaya and Ms. Akshaya C. Balakrishnan, Graduate Student, Elite School of Optometry. The best oral presentation was awarded to Ms. Pooja Nandagopal, Graduate Student, Manipal Academy of Higher Education.

The session with almost 1.5k views in YouTube was successfully received by the audience. It was an event of pride for the entire contact lens team of Sankara Nethralaya to conduct the first scientific session in Dr. Rajeswari’s memory.

Sankara Nethralaya Celebrates Forty Two Years of Selfless Service

On 6th September 2020, Sankara Nethralaya celebrated our 43rd Foundation Day very differently to previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sankara Nethralaya family got together digitally to celebrate forty-two years of bringing vision to the haves and have-nots alike.

Our President, Dr. Girish Rao, opened the proceedings by thanking the front-line warriors and everyone who worked even during the intense lockdown and are the face of SN when patients walk into Sankara Nethralaya. He handed over the evening’s virtual program to the compere, Dr. N. Radhika. The melodious Dr. S. Meenakshi sang the invocation song, which is one of Dr. S. S. Badrinath’s favourites.

Founded on Ganesh Chathurthi (6th September) in 1978, Dr. S. S. Badrinath envisioned Sankara Nethralya as a non-profit hospital that provides vision to the sightless and enable them to be active contributors to society. Sankara Nethralaya’s unique not-for-profit model relies on contributions for all its community services and on paying patients for day-to-day operations.

Dr. T. S. Surendran guided us through SN’s journey to become what it is today. From the inaugural ceremony to the original building in which Sankara Nethralaya started, Dr. T.S.S led us back to the heady days of Sankara Nethralaya’s foundation He has witnessed every major event that occurred at SN and the many achievements in the field of ophthalmology

Our beloved Chief and Madam, Dr. S. S. Badrinath and Dr. (Mrs.) Vasanthi Badrinath joined the virtual celebrations to bless Sankara Nethralaya staff and their families. They recalled the long hard road to establish Sankara Nethralaya as the premier institute for eye care imbibed with the spirit of service to society regardless of ability to pay. Chief rededicated SN to the mission of bringing vision to the poor and reminded us to be resilient in these trying times, and to put more energy to take Sankara Nethralaya to new heights.

Following in the footsteps of our Chief, Dr. Badrinath, is indeed a tall order. The tradition of hard work and dedication was cemented by him during the early days when he used to start surgeries as early as 5 a.m. and continue work until 9 p.m, along with his administrative duties. Our Chief never visualised his life’s work as a corporate hospital, an unusual occurrence even today.

Dr. S. Bhaskaran; Dr. Ian Sundaraj; Dr. K.S. Vasan; Dr. L. Vijaya; Dr. Prema Padmanabhan; Dr. Nirmala Subramanian; Dr. J. Biswas; Dr. Pramod Bhende; Dr. S. Meenakshi; Dr. Suchetna Mukherjee (Kolkata); Ms. Surekha Mehta; Dr. Anuradha Narayanan; Ms. Sreedevi C G; Ms. Sudha Mohan; Ms. Malathi G. G; and Ms. Yuvarani were among the senior staff members who shared many of their unforgettable memories of training & working under Dr. S. S. Badrinath, and the valuable lessons they imbibed under his awe-inspiring tutelage.

Dr. S. Meenakshi, also presented a vivacious recap of all the celebrations and staff get-togethers that took place through the years.- a reminder that Sankara Nethralaya staff consider each other family.

View Sankara Nethralaya’s Founder’s Day virtual celebrations in the following link:
https://youtu.be/tIbNICmJV9Q

Sankara Nethralaya Celebrates 74 years of Indian Independence

In this 74th year of Indian Independence, Sankara Nethralaya took our time-honored Independence celebrations virtual to maintain social distancing norms. There was a limited attendance at the ceremony with Dr. Girish Rao, President – Medical Research Foundation, Dr. T. S. Surendaran, Vice-chairman and Head of the Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology, and essential staff only.

Dr. T. S. Surendaran unfurled the Indian National Flag on the 74th Indian Independence Day.

After unfurling the National flag and singing the National Anthem, Dr. T. S. Surendaran greeted everyone. Looking back to when he joined Sankara Nethralaya 43 years ago, he recollected the dedication and work ethics of our Founder, Dr. S. S. Badrinath, and his wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Vasanthi Badrinath. It is their commitment, drive, and belief in a service-oriented life, which has made Sankara Nethralaya into the Temple of the Eye that it is today, Dr. TSS said.

Acknowledging that the Covid-19 pandemic had affected Sankara Nethralaya’s regular patient inflow, he observed the adverse effect it had on the regular routines like prize distributions, which were canceled this year due to the pandemic. He praised everyone who fought at our national borders and encouraged everyone who stood at the front lines of patient care with the ever-present threat of contracting Covid-19 for their heroism.

Our staff member, Mr. Ravi, rendered a heart-felt patriotic song to rousing applause.

Dr. Girish Rao wished everyone a Happy Independence Day and observed that our 74th Independence Day was like never before. He reiterated that the only way to control the virus was social distancing, washing hands, wearing masks, contact tracing, and isolation, “at least until we have a vaccine in our hand or rather, in our arm.” Dr. Rao also encouraged his listeners with the news that over 100 vaccines are in various stages of development – an unprecedented event in the history of medical science that a viable vaccine could be available within the year. He appealed once again for everyone to follow all the region-specific standard protocols to avoid further outbreaks as seen in many regions around the world.

Dr. Girish Rao thanked everyone for making the virtual celebration possible while adhering to social distancing norms within the hospital premises.

 

 

GRT Jewellers Donates Rs. 25 lacs To Sankara Nethralaya

In these uncertain times, GRT Jewellers Ltd. has donated Rs. 25 lacs Sankara Nethralaya to provide free medical care to the underprivileged. Founded in 1964, GRT Jewellers is one of the nation’s leading jewellers for the past 50 years.

“We have already donated Rs. 1 Crore to both Sankara Nethralaya, which would help them in treating the poorest patients without any fee. But we felt moved to provide even further monetary assistance during this Corona lockdown,” says Anand Padmanabhan, Managing Director, GRT Jewellers.

G.R. Radhakrishnan, Managing Director, GRT Jewellers, clarified, “Coordinated social assistance is essential during these difficult times. People all over the world are coming together and helping each other in whatever way they can. We consider these donations as repaying the debt of gratitude for the love and support that our customers have given us.”

Daily life has been affected by Covid- 19 and the world is struggling to recover from the effects of this global pandemic. With the aim to help the community in times of crisis, GRT Jewelers has donated Rs 25 lakh to Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital.

Dr T S Surendran, Vice Chairman 0f Sankara Nethralaya said that the funding would be used for the underprivileged.

Sankara Nethralaya has been serving poor visually challenged patients with free world-class eye-care for over four decades using these donations to perform over 17,000 cataract surgeries for the underprivileged using Mobile Eye Surgical Units.

Master Rahul Vellal’s Charity Fundraiser for the Gift of Sight

Sankara Nethralaya OM TRUST Inc., a fund-raising vehicle for Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, organized a Charity Fund-raising Carnatic Classical music live-streamed concert featuring the young prodigy Master Rahul Vellal. The virtual concert streamed live on June 20th, 2020 at 10:30 AM EST USA, and 08 PM IST India.

We thank S. V. Acharya, President Emeritus; Bala Reddy Indurti, President; Moorthy Rekapalli, Vice President; Sudhakar Mattu, Secretary; Krishna Raj Bhat, Joint Secretary; Banumati Ramakrishnan, Treasurer; Sowmiya J. Narayanan, Joint Treasurer; and Leela Krishnamurthy, Trustee, the principal members of SN OM Trust Inc. USA. Their altruistic dedication to bringing vision to the poor and destitute in India is uncompensated and entirely voluntary. Without their selflessness and visionary drive to give back to the Motherland, this virtual fund-raiser would not have been possible.

Even though Sankara Nethralaya’s charity fund-raising activities have been curtailed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, Master Rahul Vellal’s virtual performance demonstrates how we can come together virtually to raise funds for our less fortunate fellow Indians who need the Gift of Sight.

The young and selfless prodigy was excited to be performing this philanthropic concert and even invited everyone via a short video. He was accompanied by Vaibhav Ramani on the violin, Sunaad Anoor on the khanjira, Vinod Shyam Anoor on the mridangam. The enthusiastic performance from this young child has served to highlight how much Sankara Nethralaya has been able to bring the plight of impoverished visually impaired Indians to the public’s attention.

Our work is by no means done! Sankara Nethralaya is a not-for-profit eye hospital, which performs world-quality cataract operations for the poor in rural areas. We are yet to reach many inaccessible villages in the 35 Indian states with our Mobile Eye Surgical Units – not due to lack of enthusiasm but due to lack of resources!

The global pandemic has severely restricted many paying patients coming in for eye-checkups, treatments, and diagnoses. This means that even those poor people who depend on public transport throughout India have been unable to reach us for timely eye treatment & diagnosis. We urge you to consider the plight of helpless blind Indians who need high-quality care and whose only hope to save their eye-sight is Sankara Nethralaya.

Every little bit goes a long way in bringing the Gift of Sight to people who cannot afford expensive treatments.

Newsweek’s high power global healthcare survey deploying leading survey agency recognizes Sankara Nethralaya as, one of the ‘Best Hospitals in the World for year 2020’ based on certain critical parameters

The leader and pioneer in research and diagnostic modalities rises gloriously to the occasion with State of the Art support to enhance reach and speed in the battle against Covid 19

We share with a sense of great fulfillment that Sankara Nethralaya has made available the ‘QIA Symphony’ its State of the Art diagnostic tool, the highly advanced and sophisticated Polymerase Chain Reaction System (PCR) to help ‘ Neuberg Ehrlich Laboratory,’ the internationally acclaimed diagnostic facility identified by the TN government to conduct screening for Covid-19 in the private sector, to double the number of screenings at its Chennai center

Prestigious survey by leading international magazine rates Sankara Nethralaya among the “Best 4 Ophthalmic institutions in the World”!

It came as a global quality certification for an institution with such credentials as ‘First ISO certified eye hospital in Asia’, accredited by NABH, the highest quality certification for health care providers in the country, rated consecutively as ‘Best Eye Hospital’ by several prestigious national surveys, when ‘Newsweek’ the international weekly declared it as one among the  ‘Best 4 Ophthalmological Institutions in the World for Year 2020’

The survey was conducted on a global basis between September – November 2019, by Statista a leading Research and Analysis organization and Geo Blue a trusted provider of health insurance, especially to international tourists. The evaluation included a survey of discharged patients, recommendations by thousands of experts including leading doctors, hospital managers and other health care professionals, some of the key parameters taken into consideration were patient experience, both in relation to a specific treatment undergone and overall feel and Medical KPI (Key performance Indicators) on critical areas like quality of treatment and hygiene levels.

The jury consisted of a team of highly distinguished health care professionals from the world’s leading research, academics and clinical care centers from a diverse background consisting of experts in IT usage in health care, outstanding clinicians, researchers, health reform champions, thought leaders, patient safety and engagement experts, pioneers in health care innovation and experts in operating non-profits. This gave the evaluation a holistic approach, taking all the above parameters into consideration.

The global acknowledgment making SN the only ophthalmic institution in India to be featured in the world’s best league, comes as a matter of great pride to every member of the SN family and a befitting tribute to Dr SS.Badrinath the visionary and pioneer who founded the institution 4 decades ago, on the 4 pillars of world class clinical care,focused research, quality teaching and training initiatives and community care and above all as a transparent, ethical institution run on the basis of love and service.

A high level meeting of specialists unravels the complexities of a highly challenging area of eye care

The Aditya Birla Sankara Nethralaya and Kamalnayan Bajaj Sankara Nethralaya jointly organized a ‘Continuing Medical Education’ (CME) session on a ‘Orbital & Adnexal Tumours’ a most critical threat to vision, on 2nd February 2020 at the Kamalnayan Bajaj Sankara Nethralaya, Kolkata. The meet was aptly named ‘X Files’ a term which denotes mystery, secrecy, suspense and surprise in popular fiction and cinema, in view of the complex, baffling and hard to ascertain nature of complications effecting this region. The one day seminar focusing on the niche area of orbital and adnexal oncology was organized by Dr Bipasha Mukherjee, Director, Oculoplastic Services, Sankara Nethralaya main campus, Chennai, as the Organizing Chairperson and Dr.Mohomed Shahid Alam, Senior Consultant, Aditya Birla Sankara Nethralaya, Kolkata, Organizing Secretary and was attended by more than 60 leading practitioners specializing in Ophthalmology, Radio-Oncology, Medical Oncology, Head & Neck Onco-Surgery and Plastic Surgery, from Hyderabad,Cochin,Chennai,Bangalore,Bombay and New Delhi.

The meeting helped in evaluating, studying and better understanding of diagnosing and treating ‘Adnexal Malignancy’ from the diverse view points of these specialists from across diverse fields. This multidisciplinary approach resulted in an in-depth and significant exchange of knowledge, know-how and real time experience leading to an enhanced understanding of several baffling issues pertaining to an ophthalmic challenge, that can be a cosmetic deformity,a threat to vision or even fatal.

The impact of the meet reflected in the attendees expressing their deep satisfaction at the learning and exposure gained and interest in attending similar programs in the future.

The institution that placed Optometry in the Indian map now places Indian optometry in the world map!

Sankara Nethralaya’s optometry star has done it again!the irreprisible champion of its initiatives in optometry in her diverse roles as a dedicated teacher, avid researcher, passionate children’s eye camp organizer, pioneer of its special initiatives like the Binocular vision clinic,Myopia Control Clinic, Special Children clinic, Vision therapy clinic and a proven subject matter expert with a Doctorate in Optometry from BITS and honour of being the First Indian to be awarded a ‘Diplomate’ by the AAO and appointed as ‘Endeavour Ambassador’ by the Australian High Commission to collaborate in education and research programs between India and Australia, Dr Rizwana Husaindeen will now be India’s voice for optometry in the global arena! The announcement from the sanctum of Optometry the ‘American Academy of Optometry’ (AAO) breaking the great news that she has been appointed as the ‘President of the AAO’s  India Chapter’ making her the Numero Uno of Indian optometry came on the 24th of February 2020. It was a wonderful coincidence that the announcement which places India in the world map came on the 80th birthday of Dr S S Badrinath, a befitting birthday gift to the visionary who sowed the seeds for the inception and growth of optometry in the country, the man who envisaged its role and place in overall eye care dispensing.

The news comes as a watershed development as it heralds the entry of India’s optometry into the realm of world optometry through a sanction by the American Association of Optometry to establish the long awaited India Chapter of the AAO affiliated to the US & International Chapters. A major success for the strong representation made by the President elect, to start an exclusive India chapter at the AAO during her visit to the 3rd World Congress of Optometrists & 98th meeting of the AAO in October 2019. This comes as a strategic development which would open the floodgates to a whole new world of opportunities in academics,research,exchange programs,collaborative study to Indian optometrists at every level.

The new role is not only an acknowledgment of Dr Rizwana’s subject matter expertise but a clear recognition and acknowledgment of her immense and proven organizational,planning,execution,administration skills and far sighted Vision for Optometry which the new role demands in abundance.It is a proud day for the Sankara Nethralaya family and Indian Optometry and we express our hearty congratulations and sincere best wishes to her to scale new heights and to place her stamp of  excellence and individuality in her new role, as she had in every role that she had donned in the past.