The 12th of July 2018 marked an important day for an institution passionately committed to knowledge dissemination and alleviation of pain and suffering through the same as the institution’s ophthalmic specialty departments namely ‘The Department of Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Services’ & ‘Shri Bhagwan Mahavir Department of Vitreo Retinal Services’ came together to organize the ‘OcularTraumaCon-2018’a, high power, international four day conference on ‘Ocular Trauma’ a serious vision impairing condition which according to the WHO affects 55 million people worldwide, leading to partial to total blindness besides causing pain and agony and social stigma owing to disfigurement. While pain or trauma could be an accompanying condition for most kinds of ophthalmic disorders, with the concerned specialty department engaging itself in the relief and control of the same, the Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Services department specializes in damage control and pain management to a very large extent owing to the nature of the ophthalmic service it offers and the OculartraumaCON-2018 was the fruit of long period of hard work and planning by Dr Bipasha Mukherjee, Director of the department and her team of Dr Kirthi Koka, Dr Sonam Nissar Poonam, Dr Vathsalya Vijay and other members of the above department. The curtain raiser was held at the Sri V.D.Swami Auditorium Sankara Nethralaya main campus on the 12th of July 2018 with a warm welcome to the forthcoming event by Dr Bipasha Mukherjee and an interesting note on what it held in store by Dr Kirthi Koka which generated a lot of interest and expectancy towards the conference. A video messages by Dr Muna Bhende, Deputy Director, Shri Bhagwan Mahavir Department of Vitreo Retinal Services Department, which partnered in organizing the event, underlining that Ocular Trauma had an impact on livelihood and the hope that the conference promises to hold the answers to it gave a good perspective to the forthcoming event and the description of ocular trauma as something which did not comply to conclusive evidence or conformity but is interpreted by subjective observation and enhanced with learning from other’s experiences by Dr. Nisar Sonam Poonam, Associate Consultant at the Department of Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Services set the tone for the conference. Ocular TraumaCon 2018 assumed great significance as it was being jointly held by three major ophthalmic bodies namely the Ocular Society of India, Asia Pacific Ophthalmic Trauma Society with support from the ‘European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology’ (ESASO) and also doubled as Sankara Nethralaya’s ‘Retina Summit-2018’.
The international meet to discuss pain and suffering, aptly described by Dr Pramod Bhende, Medical Director-Clinical Services, Sankara Nethralaya as a ‘theme based knowledge dissemination initiative’ got off to the soothing tunes of Maestro Amjad Ali Khan’s Sarod in accompaniment with Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash at the packed to capacity Rajendra Hall, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai on 13th July 2018. The event generated significant interest and expectancy as it was an attempt to decipher and better understand one of the least recognized and studied factors causing blindness and was being participated by a galaxy of experts specializing in different ophthalmic specialties from the world over, since ocular trauma could occur in any region of the eye.
The three day event witnessed talks by more than 150 star speakers from across specialties who shared the latest treatment modalities, techniques and advances in handling ocular trauma and their critical real time experiences, which came as a source of great learning. Speakers strongly emphasised on a multi-disciplinary approach to treating ocular trauma, involving every sub-specialty of ophthalmology into it, creating awareness among the public and the need for government policy/legislation among policy makers, having an exclusive trauma care unit in every ophthalmic centre, creating a Fellowship and certification course in trauma care, grooming young ophthalmologists in the field of trauma care, creation of evidence based medicine, tested and proven guidelines, the need to make quick decisions when a patient is brought with a serious traumatic condition etc. Highlights at the meeting underlining the scope of trauma care were the observation by Dr Rupesh Agarwal, Secretary, Asia Pacific Ocular Trauma Society that the US military’s eye care division was willing to extend help in developing this field as a separate sub-specialty in view of the large number of soldiers who suffered damage in the eye during combat and showcasing of their ‘Air Ambulance’ which is pressed into service to transport accident victims to the hospital, shrinking time and distance, by Dr S.Raja Sabapathy, Head of Ganga Hospital, Coimbatore.
While the 3 day meeting facilitated a robust sharing of perceptions, approaches, current best practices in ocular trauma, leading to a better understanding of the same, the greater achievement of the exercise was that it succeeded in gaining ‘Ocular Trauma’ it’s long overdue recognition and place as a distinctly different and critical branch of ophthalmology.
The huge success of Ocular TraumaCON 2018 is a matter of great pride to Sankara Nethralaya the host institution as it reflected the meticulous planning, organizing and execution of the event by Dr Rajiv Raman and Dr Pradeep Susvar, Senior Consultants from its Vitroretina department who played the role of the Organizing Secretary and Joint Organizing Secretary of the event. Dr Pradeep Susvar in his address highlighted his department’s role in terms of the large number of patients it served every day, Fellows trained, offering 24X7 trauma care services for clinical and surgical management, large scale diabetic retinopathy screening, contributing to 50% of literature on DR, its highly impactful Lions skill transfer program and the department being completely digitalized and equipped with State of the Art equipment. Dr Rajiv Raman extended his sincere thanks to every delegate attending the TraumaCON-2018 for sharing their knowledge, understanding and personal experience which made the event a great learning opportunity and memorable to all attendees.
The event witnessed the induction of Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus and Founder Sankara Nethralaya and a leading light and doyen of ophthalmology, referred to as ‘Father of Vitroretina’ in India’ and Dr S.Natarajan, Founder and CEO of Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital, Mumbai into the ‘Retina Hall of Fame’