July 2015

Board member of the Medical Research Foundation underlines and reiterates Sankara Nethralaya’s service to society to a distinguished audience.

Shri V.Vaidyanathan

The Alumni Association of the College of Engineering, Guindy (AACEG) is among the city’s elite and prestigious professional bodies and has a diverse and high level member base. It boasts of a member profile consisting of ‘Captains’ of industry, technocrats and senior officials serving in the private and public domain. The members of the AACEG, in addition to their pursuit of bettering their own field of specialization and addressing issues pertaining to their vocation are also bonded by a common passion for service and giving back to the society and constantly engage themselves in several service and suffering alleviation initiatives through this August body.

The members of the AACEG had organized a lecture in memory and honour of one of their most accomplished teachers, Dr K.S.Hegde, a man whom they held in high regard and about whom they had fond memories, he had served their institution as Principal with great distinction, a blood donation camp was also organized on the occasion as a mark of their respect to him. Shri V.Vaidyanathan, former Chairman of Sankara Nethralaya and member of the Medical Research Foundation’s Governing Board and a senior member of the AACEG was invited to deliver the “Dr.K.S.Hegde Memorial Lecture” at the college auditorium in the Anna University campus, Guindy. The senior member of the Sankara Nethralaya family leveraged the opportunity to give a most interesting and absorbing account of his institution’s endeavours towards bringing the light of life and smile back on the face of the visually impaired, he emphasized its massive cost free services by way of community ophthalmology camps to the economically backward sections of society. The distinguished alumni gave a fascinating audio-visual presentation about the ‘Mobile Eye Surgical Unit’ (MESU) a most advance medico-engineering marvel, a ‘first of its kind in Asia’ operation theatre on wheels, developed jointly with IIT-Madras and how it takes the most advanced cataract surgery, totally cost free, right to the doorsteps of the most socially/economically backward sections of society, living in highly inaccessible regions of the country including tribal, hilly hamlets, to a highly engrossed and impressed group of techies comprising of engineers from different disciplines. Shri Vaidyanathan concluded his lecture with an emphatic appeal for individual and institutional support to help Sankara Nethralaya dispense its high quality, cost free services to an increasing patient base all over the country; he also utilized the opportunity to underline the critical need for eye donation in the country and need to spread awareness on the same and distributed eye donation pledge forms to the esteemed gathering.

The most interesting and absorbing talk helped in taking Sankara Nethralaya’s cause to a highly distinguished and influential group.

The Sankara Nethralaya family pays its respectful homage to a man of Science with a heart of Gold!

Dr. APJ.Abdul Kalam

The members of the Sankara Nethralaya family bow their head in reverence to one of their institution’s greatest well wishers as they bid a tearful farewell to Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ.Abdul Kalam, former President of the Nation, Eminent Atomic Scientist, Visionary and above all a simple, down to earth humanitarian passionately committed to the well being and prosperity of his motherland and its citizens. Sankara Nethralaya was blessed to have his hallowed presence in its premises on two occasions and considers his laudatory remarks on its pioneering role in stem cell research, in his inaugural speech at the Asia-ARVO and his observation ‘Today morning I entered the ‘Temple of the Eye’. This Mission is God’s Mission. The country salutes Sankara Nethralaya, as the greatest compliment and acknowledgement of its services. These words from one of the nation’s noblest son’s would remain green in the institution’s collective memory and motivate us to reach greater heights in fulfilling the dreams of a great man who strongly believed that Science and Scientific findings would have true meaning only if they help in alleviating the suffering of the common man.

The Vidyasagar Institute for Bio-Medical Science successfully conducts the BITS Practice School-I Programme


The BITS Practice School-I Programme was conducted by the Vidyasagar Institute of Bio-Medical Science (A unit of the Medical Research Foundation) between 22nd May and 16th July 2015 at the Sankara Nethralaya Main campus. A total of 10 students from different BITS campuses, 2 from BITS Pilani, 4 from BITS Hyderabad and 4 from BITS Goa participated in the same. The students did their projects in the R.S Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology (3), Centre for Bioinformatics (2), L & T Microbiology Research Centre (2), SN ONGC Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology (2) and Nano Biotechnology Department (1).

We take pleasure in sharing the topics covered by the students and their guides from the institution.

The students were given a good exposure to both the theoretical and practical aspects in their assigned areas and topics and gave a good feedback of their learning experience and interactions with faculty at the end of the training programme. Dr Ronnie George, Director Research, Vision Research Foundation, Dr. K.Lily Therese, Programme Coordinator (VIBS) and Dr.P.R.Deepa, PS-I Instructor & BITS Programme Coordinator, Chennai distributed participation certificates to them. Dr.H.N.Madhavan, Director of VIBS and faculty from all the departments appreciated the deep enthusiasm and interest with which the participants learnt the various techniques.

Chief receives high honours from diverse bodies

The Indian Intraocular Implant and Refractive Society’s Annual Convention was inaugurated recently in the city by the Honourable Health Minister of Tamil Nadu Dr.C.Vijaya Baskar, the society’s India Secretary General Dr.Amar Agarwal hailed Dr. SS.Badrinath’s role in blindness eradication and awarded him a Gold Medal for his contribution to ophthalmology on the occasion. Dr. SS.Badrinath was also among the honoured dignitaries who received the first copy of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s book ‘Transcendence – My spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji’ at a glittering book launch held at the Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi.

New Indian Express

Sankara Nethralaya takes a giant step towards unravelling the intricacies of the Ocular Surface

OSKON 2015

Comprehending the magnitude and diverse array of abnormalities, ophthalmic issues and the very functioning of the Ocular Surface had been among the more daunting areas of ophthalmology and by its intrinsic nature the area had remained a challenge to ophthalmologists the world over, since a very long time. The Ocular Surface and Keratoprosthesis Conference (OSKON-2012) bearing the theme ‘From Darkness to Light’ organized by Sankara Nethralaya, three years ago, as a high level interaction in the field, could justifiably take the credit for being the first major initiative towards bringing together ophthalmologists specializing in the area of ocular surface from the world over and enabling a critical dialog among them. If the OSKON 2012 made a great beginning by succeeding in consolidating the apprehensions and questions of these professionals, in terms of issues plaguing the ocular surface and helped in delving deeper into the field, the OSKON 2015 conducted recently was a high level exercise in exchanging the latest techniques, findings, sharing experiences and knowledge from across the globe, as its theme ‘A world eye view of the Ocular Surface’ aptly summed up. The event got off with a simple curtain raiser held at the Sri V.D. Swami Auditorium, Sankara Nethralaya main campus on the 9th of July 2015.

Senior Ocular Surface professionals from Sankara Nethralaya, Dr.Geetha Krishnan and Dr.Bhaskar Srinivasan took the audience back on a fascinating ‘Journey of the Decade – 2005-2015’ with a racy narration on how the dawn of the century witnessed the ophthalmic fraternity pondering over and delving deeper into the realm of the Ocular Surface, rapid strides made in the area in terms of successful sight restoring refractive surgeries, finding of new solutions to Corneal blindness caused due to internal and external factors like effect of chemicals, the advent of ‘Modified Osteo-Odonto Keratoproshtesis’ (MOOKP) the revolutionary tissue process evolved by Professor Giancarlo Falcinelli. Dr.Geetha followed this up with a quick introduction of the distinguished participants, their areas of specialization and distinctions; she had a high word of praise for ‘Rotary International’ for their generous grant for research in Cornea and the great work being carried out by the ‘Dr.G.Sitalakshmi Memorial Clinic for Ocular Surface disorders’ at the Sankara Nethralaya main campus.

Speaking on the occasion Dr.SS.Badrinath, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya recalled the stellar role played by Dr. H.N Madhavan, Director, L&T Microbiology Research Centre, Sankara Nethralaya in growing Corneal Stem Cells in the laboratory, he had a high word of praise for Dr.Prema Padmanabhan, Dr. Geetha Krishnan and Dr. Bhaskar Srinivasan and recalled the tireless efforts of Late Dr.G.Sitalakshmi in mastering and adopting the MOOKP process at Sankara Nethralaya and her Guru Professor Falcinelli’s wish that Sankara Nethralaya should not confine itself to being a treating centre but also a teaching centre for MOOKP. It was a moment of great pride for the host institution when the visiting dignitaries invited on stage by Dr.Geetha to share their views on the meet, showered their praise on it by observing that a visit to Sankara Nethralaya was an opportunity to learn and that they have come to learn, share and collaborate; the crowning glory of the day of course was the tribute from the legendary Professor Giancarlo Falcinelli who in his inaugural message lauded the MOOKP Centre at Sankara Nethralaya as the best among all the centres in the world which he had trained on the process.

The three day high level deliberations that followed the curtain raiser witnessed in-depth discussions, debates, exchange of new procedures and processes in the Ocular Surface arena and proved to be a great learning experience to the participants.

The image of a great admirer and generous supporter get enshrined at Sankara Nethralaya

Nani A.Palkhivala

Nani A.Palkhivala was a living legend of his times, he strode the world of economics, law and finance like a Titan, he was an erudite scholar, powerful orator and legal luminary, his authority over tax laws and the constitutional law are legendary. He was an outspoken and uncompromising civil liberties activist and served with distinction as India’s Ambassador to the USA. While his professional excellence and brilliance are well known, there is a lesser known facet to this great persona; Nani Palkhivala was a compassionate humanitarian and a socially conscious person with a strong urge to contribute to society. He held Dr. SS.Badrinath and Sankara Nethralaya the institution he founded in the highest esteem, after a visit to the eye care facility’s main centre at Chennai and observation of the quality of service offered and the highly professional financial/administrative management of the institution he lauded Sankara Nethralaya as “The Best Managed Charitable Organization in India”.

Sankara Nethralaya considers this high compliment from an economics genius and financial wizard of our times as the greatest tribute to its self sustaining financial model. So impressed was Shri Nani Palkhivala with the quality of eye care dispensed, especially the cost free care to indigent patients that he bequeathed a considerable portion of his property to support the cost free community services of Sankara Nethralaya; an entire building at the Sankara Nethralaya Main centre is named as Srimathi Nargesh and Sri Nani A.Palkhivala block as a sign of the institution’s gratitude and respect to the noble and philanthropic couple.

Sankara Nethralaya’s association with the man who complimented it as a place which reinforced his waning faith in the goodness of mankind, the philanthropist who bequeathed a considerable portion of his property to support its cost free community services, continued long after his demise. Members of the Nani.A. Palkhivala Memorial Trust producing a documentary on the life of the great man for the benefit of posterity, visited many places and met people near and dear to him, people who had closely interacted with him to compile their first hand experience and their impressions on him, to give viewers a broader picture of the man. The team made a trip to Chennai earlier in the year to visit Sankara Nethralaya and spoke to its Founder and Chief Architect Dr SS.Badrinath. The Trust members recently gifted an archival quality print of the life like portrait of late Nani A.Palkhivala by renowned artist Shri Suhas Bahulkar to Sankara Nethralaya.

Nani A.Palkhivala

It was a most memorable day for Sankara Nethralaya family when the Nani Palkhivala Trust chose Sankara Nethralaya’s, main centre at Chennai to hold the highly prestigious ‘Nani A.Palkhivala Memorial Lecture’ the annual event commemorating his memory and greatness. The event held on the 9th of July 2015 at the Sri V.D Swami Auditorium, Sankara Nethralaya main campus and witnessed the gathering of a large number of participants from the legal fraternity, the Nani Palkhivala Trust, Consultants, senior management members of Sankara Nethralaya and the general public who held him in great esteem. The proceedings got off to a great start with Shri S.Mahalingam, Member ‘Nani Palkhivala Arbitration Centre’ and former CFO of TCS describing the man being remembered and honoured as a scholar, economist, industrialist, author, philanthropist, visionary and extraordinary speaker and shared some memorable moments he was privileged to have with him.

Speaking on the occasion a visibly moved Dr SS.Badrinath, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya recalled that Shri Nani Palkhivala was particularly impressed by the cleanliness in the institution when he had visited Sankara Nethralaya in the early 90’s.  The following moments witnessed the most touching exchange of thoughts in the form of letters between a kind and generous benefactor and a noble, service minded doctor and his institution, a golden, closely guarded  communication which was privy to the two until it was made public on the momentous occasion; the audience were moved by the generosity of a man who in phases gave away his stocks and savings of a life time and how in his characteristic humility refused to be felicitated in public for what he called was a private act. Dr. SS.Badrinath recalled the fondness that the Kanchi Mahaperiyava had for Shri Nani Palkhivala and how he formed the ‘Veda Samprokshana Nidhi’ with the help of a generous donation made by him to the Mutt.

Welcoming the distinguished Chief Guest of the day Honourable Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Shri Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Shri N.Venkatesan, member of the Palkhivala Trust hailed him as a member of a distinguished family and a most accomplished legal professional who rose up the ladder through his excellence. Delivering the Chief Guest’s address Honourable Justice   Sanjay Kishan Kaul lauded late Shri Nani Palkhivala as a man who had left an indelible mark in the sands of time, he recalled that while Shri Nani Palkhivala had a deep respect for the Constitution of the country, framed by the founding fathers of the nation, he was also conscious of the role of change and dynamism in this instrument to ensure that it helped in the better empowerment of the common man. The Chief Guest praised Madras as the centre of Medicine, Music and Culture, he emphasised the need of good educational institutions in the legal and medical field to produce quality professionals from both disciplines and observed that medical field was relatively more fortunate, thanks to the contribution of private enterprise to its growth. This was followed by the most awaited event of the day, the unveiling of the portrait of late Shri Nani Palkhivala by the eminent Chief Guest, to the thunderous, standing applause of the large gathering. It is interesting to note that the portrait of the eminent Jurist was unveiled at the Supreme Court considered the ‘Temple of Justice’ by Chief Justice of India honourable Shri HL. Dattu and the same was unveiled at Sankara Nethralaya, fondly referred to as the ‘Temple of the Eye’ by Honourable Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Shri Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dr.Jyotirmay Biswas, Head of the Uvea Department at Sankara Nethralaya gave a most interesting introduction of the star speaker of the day Dr. V.K Raju, Department of ophthalmology, West Virginia University and thanked him for his presence and participation. What followed was an enthralling speech on the topic ‘From Nani Palkhivala to V.S Naipaul’ the world famous ophthalmologist and long time friend of Dr SS.Badrinath and Sankara Nethralaya kept the audience in spell binding attention with a wonderful comparison, contrast and interesting portrayal of two great contemporary personalities, who were different in their approach and temperament but had a common passion for their motherland. The star speaker made interesting deviations with his observation on the need for learning for the sake of learning, the need to revive the fine art of reading, the advancement of the Indian cinema industry even way back in the early 60’s, he fervently appealed to the 1.2 million physicians of Indian origin practising all over the world to pool their talent and eradicate all ailment including blindness, he underlined that childhood blindness was mankind’s most cruel curse and lauded Sankara Nethralaya’s endeavours towards eliminating the same. He ended his speech with a surprise gesture, a donation to be used as a corpus to create what he termed as the ‘Danavantri Lecture’ to his old friend and Chief of Sankara Nethralaya Dr.SS.Badrinath.

The momentous day came to an end with a Vote of Thanks by Shri R.Anand, Trustee, Nani Palkhivala Foundation, recalling the old and most touching association between Shi Nani. Palkhivala and Sankara Nethralaya the institution he held close to his heart and the most powerful speech he delivered impromptu when he had visited the institution in the early 90’s.

Indian Express

MoU for BSc Ophthalmic Dispensing – 4 Years Course jointly by The SN Academy and Govt of Tamil Nadu`s Periyar University – Salem on 01.07.2015

Prof S Ramani - Principal, Ms Akila Ganesan - Registrar (TSNA), Dr. P Thirumoorthi - Director, Dr. K. Angamuthu. Registrar & Dr.  C. Swaminathan. Vice Chancellor, Periyar University.
Prof S Ramani - Principal, Ms Akila Ganesan - Registrar (TSNA), Dr. P Thirumoorthi - Director, Dr. K. Angamuthu. Registrar & Dr. C. Swaminathan. Vice Chancellor, Periyar University.

Being a super speciality eye hospital with a reputation built over three decades of noble service, Sankara Nethralaya extends its community services in Healthcare Education too through its academic wing The Sankara Nethralaya Academy (TSNA).

In order to reach out to larger fraternity of students, TSNA has signed an MOU with Periyar University, a State University in Salem, for offering a professional course BSc (Ophthalmic Dispensing) with three years of intensive study followed by one year internship.

This educational programme is backed by a strong knowledge base and medical expertise, supported by state of the art infrastructure facilities. Besides eligibility for educational loans from banks, BSc – Ophthalmic Dispensing degree certificate from a UGC recognized government university enhances the scope for the students in terms of employment as well as higher studies in India and abroad.

This course is open for admission for plus two passed students with a minimum of 50% in aggregate. Applications can be downloaded from www.thesnacademy.ac.in and the contact number is 91769 44244