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.