August 2021

Community Activities of the Elite School of Optometry

A Comprehensive Eye Screening for people in Old age home 

Screening camps for adults generally concentrate on checking vision and a preliminary assessment for cataract. But GOOD study (Geriatric Outreach and Ocular Diagnosis) ensures that the comprehensive evaluation provided inside the hospital premises is available at the old age homes. The first Home that was covered under this project was Sri Sathya Narayana Charitable Trust, Nanmangalam, conducted on the 15th of August 2021.

The services included:

a) A detailed history of the patient’s ocular and systemic conditions 
b) Screening and testing for refractive errors (Need for spectacles) 
c) Screening for other ocular problems like cataract, Conjunctival and corneal degenerations 
d) Screening for the “Silent killers of sight” – glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy

Other Activities

  1. Screening for general health conditions
  2. Questionnaire on cognitive assessment and visual function assessment
  3. Fun activities with the inmates

Report on the screening: 
Total Number of People Screened – 43
Number of Given Spectacles – 14
Number of Referrals – 16
Cataract – 6
Cornea – 1
Glaucoma – 2
Oculoplasty – 0
Posterior Capsular Opacity – 2
Retina – 3
Squint – 0
Neuro – 1
Rehabilitation – 1

SNEHAM: (Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital Anjali to Mahatma)

SNEHAM is a special community project aimed at the villages of Thiruvannamalai. This unique project was started in 2020 commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma. Comprehensive vision screening for three villages in Thiruvannamali district included the provision of free spectacles, surgical services and other specialty services to the villagers. Highlight of the camp included provision of services by stationing in every village for 3-4 days, in person distribution of spectacles, and choice of surgical services either at Chennai or our secondary centre, Suraj Sankara Nethralaya at Thiruvannamalai.

Elite School of Optometry / Sankara Nethralaya Highlights Activities from June 2021 to August 2021

M. Optom Batch 2019 – Placement details

Elite School of Optometry, (ESO) since its inception in 1985 has consistently produced graduates who meet the global standards in the field of Optometry with 100% job placement. The institute offers Master of Optometry (M. Optom.), a research-intensive two-year degree program in collaboration With SASTRA, Deemed-to-be-University. ESO stands as a role model in the domains of academics, research, and community work in the field of Optometry and continues to provide world class optometrists for service to the country. Till date, 708 students have graduated with Bachelor’s degrees, 122 with Master’s degrees and 10 have obtained Doctorate in Philosophy from ESO.

The scope of optometry is enormous. It includes clinical role at hospitals in the outpatient clinics, diagnostic services, and in speciality clinics in the following domains such as Dispensing Opticals, Contact Lens clinic, Binocular Vision clinic, Low Vision Care clinic, Myopia clinic, Neuro Optometry Rehabilitation clinic, Special Children vision clinic, Ocular Prosthesis clinic, and Community Outreach and Occupational Optometry services. Optometrists also play a key role as researchers, academicians, administrators, private practitioners and entrepreneurs.

This year too, ten graduates from ESO in collaboration with SASTRA Deemed to be University have passed out with flying colours from the M Optom program. They have acquired unique roles as lecturers at Elite school of Optometry, clinical and research optometrists at Sankara Nethralaya and pursuant of doctoral studies (details are given below). We congratulate them and wish the best for their future endeavours!

World Class Research Projects by Elite School of Optometry

The first batch of students of the Master of Optometry (M. Optom.), a two year program, completed their final defense on 18th and 19th of June 2021. The areas of their research work were diverse, including myopia, health economics, and diagnostics in retinal conditions: glaucoma, cerebral visual impairment, contact lenses, uveitis in tuberculosis and sports vision.

Experts from the fields were invited as external examiners for their final examination. Experts unanimously agreed that the students did excellent work amidst the grueling pandemic. Dr. Padmaja Sankaridurg from the Brien Holden Vision Institute and University of New South Wales, Dr Aparna Raghuram from the Harvard Medical School & Boston Children Hospital, Dr Ahalya Subramaniam from the City University of London, Dr Arun kumar from the Scheie University Pennsylvania, and Dr Abrez Hussain from the Vision Eye Institute, Australia, were the examiners. They appreciated the extensive research work of the students and guides, and ESO’s world class quality of research.

The details of the research projects are:

R. Aishwarya

Screening for cerebral visual impairment in children reporting to the pediatric ophthalmology

Akshaya C Balakrishnan

Vault-Aberration-Vision relationship in Boston Scleral Contact Lens

Amirthaa M

Near Induced Transient Myopia (NITM) parameters after reading with mobile phone compared to printed text among school children

Jannet Philip

Development Of A Tele Rehabilitation Model in children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI): A Pilot study

Karthika P

Structural and functional changes among diabetics with no diabetic retinopathy and mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy using Swept Source Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography
and Photopic Negative Response


Swept- source Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography Analysis of Tubercular Serpiginous Like Choroiditis-A Prospective Study

Maanasi M

Assessing the features of Polypoidal Choroidal Vasculopathy in Swept Source Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography.

Mehal Prasanpal Rathore

Diagnostic ability of OCT Angiography and its application in the assessment of ocular blood flow in patients with Glaucoma and age-matched normal subjects in an Indian Sample

Robin S

Development and validation of KAP questionnaire among cricketers

Swetha S

Cost Analysis of Sankara Nethralaya School children Eye Examination Study (SN-SEES)


Elite school of Optometry in collaboration With SASTRA Deemed-to-be University offers Bachelor of Optometry, a four year undergraduate optometry degree program. The first batch of students from this degree program have completed their final exams and expected to graduate this year. Detailed evaluation components included performance for independent OPD cases, speciality clinics, diagnostic clinics, Viva voce and an all subject theory examination apart from the continuous assessments.

Despite the COVID 19 pandemic, students of this batch were appreciated for their efforts and preparation towards the exam and all the evaluators gave good feedback on their performance.

Speciality Clinics

OSPE – OSCE (Diagnostics Interpretation)


Dr. Govinda Visvesvara’s $150,000 generous donation to Sankara Nethralaya

Sankara Nethralaya (SN) is a non-profit charity organization providing ophthalmic(eye) care to millions of patients throughout India for the last four decades. To support the Indian Mission of Sankara Nethralaya, Sankara Nethralaya USA was established back in 1988. The main goal of the Trust creation is to have the NRIs supporting and contributing to this Nobel cause. Sankara Nethralaya USA is one of the trusted and well-respected charity organizations in USA. The Trust also received Charity Navigator’s highest rating of “Four Stars” for maintaining financial accountability and fiscal transparency for funds donated by donors and how they are utilized towards the stated cause.

Sankara Nethralaya has recently received a whopping Rs. 1.11 crores ($150,000) donation from Dr. Govinda Visvesvara in memory of his parents. His generous donation will help to care for 2300 deserving blind patients in India. Dr. Govinda Visvesvara, is a great scholar, philanthropist, and excellent human being.

Dr. Govinda Visvesvara was born in Bangalore to Shri Govinda Sharma and Smt. Rajamma. He hails from a very well-respected traditional south Indian family. His parents were blessed with 11 children (5boys, six girls), 18 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, 8 great, great-grandchildren.

His mother, Smt. Rajamma was the youngest child in the family born in 1909 in Bangalore city, erstwhile Mysore state. Smt. Rajamma was a kind-hearted, friendly, a devoted wife to Shri Govind Sharma, and the family was the center of her world. She was highly pious and always reciting slokas in Sanskrit, Kannada, and Telugu. Smt. Rajamma was kind, giving, and appreciated all people. She passed away peacefully at the age of 91.

His father, Sri Govinda Sharma, was born in 1900 in Akkihebbal, erstwhile Mysore state. He graduated with a Bachelor of Law from Maharaja’s College, University of Mysore. Subsequently, joined the Judiciary system of the then Mysore State and served in various capacities. He retired as District and Sessions Judge of Bangalore District. He was a student of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan (Former President of India) at Maharaja’s college. He was a great philosopher and studied in depth both Indian and Western Philosophies. Often, he participated in discussions with noted scholars on questions of comparative philosophy. He was known for high standards and quick wit. He had an exceptional ability to engage effectively with children and others from all walks of life. He was a devoted husband and father. He passed away peacefully in 1985.

Dr. Govinda Visvesvara (Vish) earned a Master’s Degree in Science from the University of Nagpur and started his career as a Zoology lecturer in Dibrugarh City in Assam. He later joined as Research Assistant at Central Public Health Engineering Research Institute in Nagpur, India. In 1963 he joined the Defense Research Laboratories in Gwalior, India, as a Junior Scientific Officer. In 1967, he competed nationally and received a Fulbright award and a U.S Government Scholarship. He chose to work on his Ph.D. with William Balamuth at the University of California, Berkeley. While a graduate student at Berkeley, he also served as a teaching assistant and teaching associate. There he also met and married Marika, she passed away in 2001.

After obtaining a Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Vish Joined the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA as a Postdoctoral fellow 1972. His laboratory participated in the investigation of outbreaks of several different “unknown” diseases. He discovered a new amoeba that causes meningoencephalitis in humans and other animals and paid tribute to his former mentor by designating the name of a new genus and species of amoeba, Balamuthia mandrill Aris. His work has provided novel insights into the medical relevance of protists in human disease and had a big impact on public health. At CDC he mentored doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and guests who came from all corners of the globe. He has published over 350 articles, book chapters. He has won several awards.

Some of the significant awards are:

  1. Awarded Joseph E. McDade Citation for Lifetime Scientific Achievement: July 2012
  2. Awarded William C. Watson, Jr. Medal of Excellence for outstanding public health service and leadership in understanding the biology, diagnostics, and public health impact of free-living amebae and other protozoan pathogens 2011
  3. Golden Pen Award” for the PAM article Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis in Florida: A case report and epidemiological review of Florida cases Fl J Environ Hlth 2011; 207:15-21. from the Florida Environmental Health Associations -2011
  4. Awarded CDC’s Excellence for research on Acanthamoeba keratitis outbreak, 2008
  5. Cited as “a leader in free-living amoeba biology” and a new species of ameba, Monomyelocytes Visvesvara was created – 2008

Both Sankara Nethralaya USA and the Sankara Nethralaya India teams, thanked Dr. Govinda Visvesvara for his generous donation and share the following appreciations.

Dr. Girish Rao, President of Sankara Nethralaya: “Dear Mr. Visvesvara ji, Greetings from Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai. On behalf of the staff of Sankara Nethralaya and Board of Management of Medical Research Foundation I wish to convey our sincere gratitude for your benevolence in loving memory of your parents. Your donation will help us provide free treatment for countless indigent patients.”

Dr. T S Surendran, Vice Chairman & Director, Sankara Nethralaya: Sankara Nethralaya family and on behalf of patients, thank Dr Govinda Visvesvara from the bottom of our hearts a BIG THANK YOU for the munificent contribution coming forward to sponsor one of the floors of the temple for the eyes Sankara Nethralaya

Sankara Nethralaya USA Executive Committee & Board of Trustees appreciation:

S.V. Acharya, President Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya USA: Expressed gratitude to Dr. Govinda Visvesvara on behalf of our Trust in US for the generous donation of $150,000 towards naming one floor at Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai, India. He also indicated that while smaller donations help us in providing free ophthalmic services to indigent patients, major donations like the one from Dr. Visvesvara help us in enhancing the infra structure and in the long-term growth of the institution.

Bala Reddy Indurti, President, Sankara Nethralaya USA: “Dear Sri Govinda Visvesvara garu, I am truly honored to be the receiver of your generosity $150,000 (one hundred fifty thousand US dollars) on behalf of Sankara Nethralaya to support 2300 indigent blind patients in India. “The highest of distinction is service to others” – your magnanimity & selflessness is unparalleled, and it would bring hope and ray of light into many unfortunate lives. Thank you heart fully, and I am sure your parents would be delighted watching from above. Glad to know you during my tenure as Sankara Nethralaya USA president.”

Moorthy Rekapalli, Vice President: “Dr. Visvesvara, Namaste . What a great way to pay tribute to your parents!! Your generous contribution to Sankara Nethralaya is so much appreciated by all of us and it can’t be expressed in words. Also, these types of generous acts boost the morale of all the volunteers, who are working for this noble cause of restoring vision to indigent patients. May God bless you and your family for your selfless and generous acts.”

Srinivas Ganagoni, Secretary: I’d like to thank Visvesvara ji for your generosity to support Sankara Nethralaya to provide eye care services to the people who are in need. Appreciate it very much.

Banu Ramakrishnan, Treasurer: Banu: Kindly Thank Dr. Govindarajan Visvesvara Garu for his kindness and his generosity. This will be inspiring for others to do the same. There is saying in Tamil – ‘the more water you draw from the well, the more water will secrete’- the more you give, the more you will get. May Lord will bless him with wealth to do more great things!

Sowmi Narayan, Joint Secretary: Our humble pranams and namaskarams to Dr. Govinda Visvesvara and his family for supporting 2307 cataract surgeries. Thank you for your generosity, kind and timely help. God bless.

Raja Krishnamurthy, Joint Treasurer: God works in so many ways to serve the needy. Thanks to Bala Garu, Dr. Govindarajan Visvesvara Garu and Sankara Nethralaya on this Aadi Vellikizhamai, Aadi Month Friday very auspicious for Lalitha, embodiment of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi.

Leela Krishnamurthy, Past President: Dear Dr Govinda Visvesvara Words cannot express our sincere gratitude to you for your very generous donation of $150,000 to Sankara Nethralaya as a tribute to your parents , a truly magnanimous decision Your contribution will give so many the ultimate gift the Gift of sight. Gods’ blessings to you and family

Srini Vangimalla: Dear Visvesvara garu, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for your generous contribution to Sankara Nethralaya. Great way to pay tributes to your parents by creating a means for serving the under-privileged patients in India. I am sure your donations will be best utilized in restoring the vision for many.

Krishnaraj Bhat: Namaste Shri Govinda Visverara Ji, my heartfelt pranams for your generous donation towards Sankara Nethralaya in order to eradicate blindness from India and all over the world. Your incredible contribution has the power to fund over 2,300 cataract surgeries and inspire countless others to give back to the community. Once again, thank you so much for your generosity!

Partha Chakravarthy: It was very nice of Sri Visvesvara to have donated generously to Sankara Nethralaya. May he and his family be blessed.

Dr. Reddy Urimindi: There is no greater gift to mankind than the gift of sight, and what a delight it is to learn about your kindness to Sankara Nethralaya. We are thankful for your generosity which will bring the lost light and smile back on the face of countless indigent individuals with visual impairments

Shankar Shetty: Sri. Govinda Visvesvara garu’s big heart to help needy ones!! God bless him and our Sankara Nethralaya!!

Prasad Rani: I am pleased to learn about the grand donation made by Dr Govinda Visvesvara to Sankara Nethralaya USA. These funds will definitely cause life changing effects on thousands of people in India who will now be gifted with a better vision.

Shyam Appali: We are truly blessed to have selfless-minded individuals like Dr. Govinda Visvesvara, who believe in the services offered by Sankara Nethralaya. We appreciate his generosity in donating to this great cause and thank him from the bottom of our hearts. His generosity and story are very inspiring to everyone at Sankara Nethralaya. May God bless him and his family with health, happiness, and wealth.

Upendra Rachupally: Sri Visvesvara Garu – Thank you for your generous donation to SNUSA. We are very grateful for your contribution. Your care and commitment for SNUSA are above and beyond. Your giving spirit makes a difference as we help hundreds of patients. Take a bow……….

Ramesh Chaparala: Dear Dr. Visvesvara garu, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for your generous contribution to Sankara Nethralaya. We sincerely appreciate your generosity and commitment for Sankara Nethralaya! Thank you!

Neelima Gaddamanugu: Thank you for your generous donation to SNUSA. We are very grateful for your contribution and support. Your commitment for SNUSA is greatly appreciated! Thank you so much!

Dr. Bellamkonda Kishore: Love and Compassion are the Divine attributes that have real power to solve the problems of the world. It is really gratifying to see those in Dr. Govinda Visvesvara garu, who made a very generous gift to SN OM Trust. May God bless him and his family

Jagannath Vedula: Thank you Bala ji for sharing the inspiring news about Sri Govinda Visvesvra garu. It is great to see his faith in Sankara Nethralaya. This will be an inspiration for all others. Please thank him on behalf of the board. May Lord bless him with abundance and a big heart.

Meher Lanka: Dear Visvesvara garu, Namaskarams to your benevolent contribution to Sankara Nethralaya. I’d like to thank you very much for your care by proving a means to serve the needy and visually challenged patients in India. We are very honored to serve with you.

Rajasekahr Aila: Dear Govinda Visvevsvara garu, we needed you and you were there. We are so grateful for your donation towards SNOM charitable trust. Thank you for your generosity and your confidence in our work. Sincerely

Ravi Maraka: Sri Govinda Visvesvara garu, Thank you very much for your extremely generous donation to Sankara Nethralaya. It is greatly appreciated, and I can’t thank you enough. Your $150k donation would help so many underprivileged people in India, it also inspires many people to come forward and donate towards true causes.

Anand Dasari: Can’t explain the greatness and kind heart of the donor Dr. Govinda Visvesvara garu, in words. It’s a motivation to do bigger and better stuff. I will pray for him for his well-being and success. Thank you Bala Anna for your effort to make this happen.

To read the article on Great, please click here:-

Watch the tribute video here:

Sankara Nethralaya Conducts Blood Donation Campaign

Sankara Nethralaya conducted a Blood Donation Campaign on 16th August 2021, to mark India’s 75th Independence Day. The blood donation drive was conducted in association with Voluntary Health Services, Adyar. The drive was organized on the 3rd floor, Mahyco Block.

Our Blood Donation Campaign in association with VHS has been a long-standing tradition of service to the community. Sankara Nethralaya staff have always enthusiastically participated in the campaign and this year too, many donors came forward.

We convey our heartfelt appreciation to each one of the donors for setting aside time in your hectic schedule and donating blood for someone in need.

“Direction Regained” Ratan Sarder, a patient story from Sankara Nethralaya, Kolkata

Mr Ratan Sarder is a 54 year-old private security guard living in the slums of Kalinagar Sarder Para, Kolkata. He is the sole breadwinner, supporting a family of four on a meager monthly income of Rs. 6000/-. Since the past one year, Mr. Ratan had been experiencing poor vision in both eyes making it difficult to continue his job as a security guard.

Though he needed treatment for poor vision, he was unable to access any eye care due to his low income. He struggled to clearly see both near and distant objects, and it became challenge to continue with his job as a security guard, and to even move around.

He came to know from other beneficiaries that Sankara Nethralaya, Mukundapur hospital was conducting a free eye camp. Ratanji was elated that the camp also provided free food, lodging, medicine, and transported him from his home to the hospital and back again after surgery.

At the free eye camp, he was diagnosed as having significant cataract in both eyes and was advised for cataract surgery. The SN team brought Ratanji to the hospital one day before the surgery where he underwent a detailed eye examination, along with blood tests and a pre-operative checkup.

After his cataract surgery, and the first post-operative checkup he was returned to his home. One month after the surgery, he was given free glasses. Ratan is very happy that he has regained his vision with the support of the doctors and all the staff of Sankara Nethralaya, Kolkata, and is grateful for the free treatment that has enabled him to keep supporting his family.

In his own words – “Amar chokh chara ami puro dishehara hoye gechilam. Ami amar disha khuje pelam” (I was completely directionless without my vision. I have regained the direction of my life).

With your support, many more patients affected during the pandemic will regain their vision!

All donations to SN OM Trust are 100% IRS Tax Exempted in US, IRS Registered 501 (c) (3)

We seek your continued support as we progress in our battle against blindness.

UV Safety Awareness Highlights

UV safety awareness happens every year in the month of July, promoted by organizations including the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs emphasizing the health impact of UV on body and eye. The campaign also works on educating people about effective and appropriate UV protection.

The Occupational Optometry Services of Sankara Nethralaya aimed to cater awareness to their employees and patients through interactive sessions, where they can participate and gain knowledge. To encourage their participation both employees and the public were rewarded, sponsored by Essilor, India #SeemoreDomore.

Employees from various departments / centers participated in the event. The fun filled learning contests was conducted for 3 weeks displaying the themes: Basics of UV, causes & effects and finally the protection from UV. Amidst the busy work life a total of 60 responses were received and creative posters were prepared by employees explaining the aspects of UV and protection against the effects. For awareness to patients, danglers with UV safety information were hanged on all the OPD areas.

The winners chosen by lucky draw were awarded with Photochromatics and Sun glasses sponsored by Essilor. All the participants were given a cap as symbol of UV protection.