Sankara Nethralaya News

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.

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.

A hundred flowers bloom at the ‘Temple of the eye’ on the joyous occasion of its Chief’s 80th birthday!

A hundred joyous smiles through revived vision marked the 80th birthday celebration of Dr SS.Badrinath, among the world’s leading vitroretinal surgeons, a pioneer, visionary and humanitarian doctor, a living legend of our times and Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Sankara Nethralaya, India’s leading Clinical Care, Ophthalmic Research, Seat of Academics and Community Eye Care Center.

Photograph by SN Multimedia team

The Dr VG Appukutty Campus, the institution’s vast green premises situated right on the GST Road at St Thomas Mount, Chennai wore a festive look with the institution’s Senior Consultants and their teams of nurses, paramedics and support staff mentored by him and ingrained in his values assembled in large numbers in response to a clarion call made by President & Medical Director, Medical Research Foundation, Dr Girish Shiva Rao, to perform 100 cost free cataract surgeries on indigent patients as a befitting tribute and birthday gift from them and the institition to Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr SS.Badrinath, who would be turning 80 years of age the next day. Sankara Nethralaya Consultants Dr. Prema Padmanaban,Dr. L.Vijaya,Dr. B. Shantha,Dr. Sumita Agarkar,Dr. Veena Bhaskaran,Dr. Elizabeth,Dr. Rajesh,Dr. Sudhir,Dr. Vineet Ratra,Dr. Kavitha Kalaivani,Dr. Durga,Dr. KC. Anand,Dr. Srivalli,Dr. Vinita Girish Rao,Dr. Shikka Bassi,Dr. Mona Khurana,Dr. Jeyalakshmi Govindan,Dr. Nivediata Narayanan, Dr. CK. Parameswari,Dr. Shema Rafeek,Dr. Suchitra Pradeep,Dr. Muthu Meena Muthumalai, Dr Gajendra Kumar Verma joined hands with anesthetists Dr Jagdeesh, Dr Lakshmi Prasanna, Dr Shoba Raishankar, Dr Pradnya Senthi Kumar to volunteer their service to the poor and needy on their weekend holiday, as their loving birthday gift and befitting tribute to their esteemed Guide, Guru and father figure and his institution to whom they owed the positions they held and the high reputation they enjoyed. The one day eye surgery camp was organized by Dr Veena Bhaskaran with administrative support from Shri Vanakkam Sivakumar, Administration In-Charge at the new Jaslok Community Ophthalmology Center, (JCOC) the institution’s exclusive cost free eye care center operating from its large, new premises. The Senior surgeons performed cataract removal surgeries on patients already screened at the JCOC, simultaneously at the operation theaters at the CU Shah Sankara Nethralaya, started by the man being honoured, as a peripheral eye hospital to dispense quality eye care to patients living in and around a region considered as a suburb of the city at the time of its inception, at the new JCOC, the recently constructed, massive, exclusive community hospital, a monument of his dream of operating one of the largest exclusive cost free community hospitals from the institution’s own premises and the ‘Mobile Eye Surgical Unit’ (MESU) the State of the Art and ‘one of its kind in Asia’ operation theater on wheels, the pioneer and only surgical facility which has the Union Health Ministry’s approval and sanction to perform cataract surgeries outside a conventional operation theater in a base hospital, a rich testimony to the Octogenarian’s foresight and quest to leverage latest technology to bring back lost vision and relief and alleviation from pain to the underprivileged, right to their doorsteps.

Photograph by SN Multimedia team

A total of 103 cataract removal surgeries were performed on the day in commemoration of living legend Dr SS.Badrinath’s 80th birthday falling the next day, capturing the spirit of dispensing quality eye care with love and a personal touch and totally cost free to those who cannot afford to pay for there treatment, as ordained by the Seer of Kanchi Mutt and enshrined as one of the founding principles of the institition

Photograph by SN Multimedia team

Photograph by Subhasish Shah – Contact Lens dept

Organizing of special Puja for their beloved Chief’s long and healthy life and continued guidance, at temples and distribution of ‘Prasad’ to members of the Sankara Nethralaya family by Lion Harinarayanan, Manager-Projects and formation of a grand ‘80’ by members of the SN family clad in white, led by Dr TS Surendran, Vice President, Dr Prema Padmanabhan, Dr Nirmala Subramanian, Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan, Dr L.Vijaya, Dr Shantha, Dr Shikha Bassi and many other Consultants, Fellows and staff members rendering the happy birthday song at the main campus, organized and executed by Dr Anuradha, Professor, ESO and Head of school children screening and a similar formation and a soulful birthday song for their Chief by the Optometrists and staff members at the Kamalnayan Bajaj Sankara Nethralaya, Kolkata, initiated by the Optometrists, marked the 80th birthday celebrations on the 24th of February.

An interesting development pertaining to the birthday celebrations that caught everybody’s attention was the development and designing of an online link https://sites.google.com/view/ssbhb/home and a QR scan through which members of the SN family and the large number of well wishers from outside could communicate their innermost thoughts,wishes and greetings on the joyous occasion with ease, by Mr M.Saravanan, from the institution’s multimedia department, as his birthday gift to the legend. It was a thoughtful leveraging of technology to enable reach and speed of personalized communication in terms of conveying their emotions and wishes, to the man who successfully leveraged technology to reach eye care and alleviation of pain to a large number of people

The institution would be conducting a special cost free Diabetic Retinopathy screening camp under the leadership of Dr Rajiv Raman, Senior Consultant, Bhagwan Mahaveer Vitroretinal Services, on 28th February 2020 at its JKCN campus located at 6, Pycroft Garden Road, Chennai-6, as part of the birthday celebrations and tribute to its founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr SS.Badrinath. As a novel measure and in appreciation of their perseverance and courage, the institution has decided to present those who have lived with diabetes for 10 years and above without any diabetes related eye issues, visiting the screening camp on the day with a certificate of appreciation and medal.

World’s leading service and relief organization confers its highest award on Sankara Nethralaya’s pioneer and stalwart!

The Association of Lions Clubs conferred its highest recognition and award on Dr TS Surendran, Director-Pediatric Ophthalmology and Vice President Sankara Nethralaya, at its regional meet held recently. It was a matter of great pride and jubilation for every member of the Sankara Nethralaya family as their favourite, ever smiling, jovial and down to earth TSS Sir as he is fondly referred to was honoured with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by Lion Vijayalakshmi Thavva, Lion K.Jeganath and Lion Ashok Mehta, in acknowledgment and high appreciation of his dedicated service to Pediatric Ophthalmology and for being the ‘Sushruta of Strabismus surgery’ for thousands of children and his sterling role in the crusade against preventable blindness

The award was not only in recognition of the veteran professional’s knowledge, skills and dedication to his profession but a strong acknowledgment and appreciation of his personal loyalty to his institution and for being a source of inspiration to all!

The Sankara Nethralaya family salutes its beloved Dr TSS Sir and wishes him many more accolades and honours in his professional journey

Fruits of a great intent bloom gloriously!

The certification ceremony of the students completing their Masters in Optometry and Bachelors in Medical Laboratory Technology and Ophthalmic Dispensing at the Sankara Nethralaya Academy, held at the packed to capacity VD Swami Auditorium on the 25th of January 2020 presented a picture of joy and jubilation.

The event capturing the successful acquisition of knowledge,skills by a set of young men and women and inculcation of the spirit of service in them was captured succinctly as ‘Fruits of a great intent’ by Mrs Akila Ganesan, Registrar, TSNA and Director-Administration Sankara Nethralaya. Observations on the institution in terms of its sterling role in reaching quality, career oriented education to children from the lesser privileged sections of society through fee waivers,scholarships and grants including assistance from its own employees resulting in the creation of a large number of first graduates in socially and economically backward families and 80% of its students being girls, by Professor Ramani, Principal, TSNA, followed by a note on the trail blazing courses introduced year after year including the fact that the TSNA was the only institution to offer the prestigious ‘Fellowship in Ophthalmic Dispensing’ in India and the impressive placement record of students from the previous batches by Dr Anuja Singh Vice-Principal and Mr Senthilkumar, Assistant Professor was a testimony to the quality of the tree from where the day’s fruits had blossomed.

The speakers highlighted that the exposure to a good number of eye screening camps serving the rural poor, including the ‘Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital Anjali to the Mahathma’ (SNEHAM-2020) not only exposed the students to various kinds of eye ailments but also inculcated the spirit of service in them.

Addressing the audience Mrs Akila Ganesan, Registrar, TSNA recalled that it was exactly 10 years ago when the dream of Dr SS Badrinath to start an institition offering courses offering high employment potential to the middle and lower income groups was placed before Periyava and today the institution has grown to great heights with the vision and plan of the great Visionary and the divine blessings of Periyava.

Highlighting to the students that Sankara Nethralaya is their home and their academic/professional performance, behavior and acts will reflect on it, Mrs Akila Ganesan used the opportunity to educate and guide them on their varying role and responsibility to their institution,their parents,society at large and to themselves.

The association of renowned professionals like Dr CM Srinivas, Dr Mitra Ghosh and Dr Mythily belonging to reputed institutions like CMC Vellore, Voluntary Health Service and MIOT Hospitals with the TSNA and their contribution to the courses offered was a testimony to the high standards of education offered at the institution.

A champion of ophthalmic anesthesia as a niche sub specialty and a key innovator in his field works his way up to the top slot!

It was yet another glorious feather in the proud cap of Dr VV. Jaichandran, Sankara Nethralaya’s senior ophthalmic anesthesiologist for whom winning accolades and honours at every national and international meet in his niche field that he attends has become a habit. An insightful talk titled ‘Retained Visual Sensations during Eye surgery’ delivered by him won great reviews and appreciation by the distinguished global audience at the 5th World Congress of Ophthalmic Anesthesia (WCOA), held at Jakarta, Indonesia on the 7th & 8th of February 2020. It was a glorious moment for a man who has been actively innovating newer techniques for both teaching and practicing regional blocks, when his E-Poster titled ‘Mannequin based training of ophthalmic anesthesia’ was adjudged as the ‘First Runner up’, at the prestigious international meet. It was a glorious hat-trick for the expert whose well researched papers had won the ‘Best Free Paper’ award at the 3rd WCOA in year 2012 at Turkey and the 1st and 2nd best free paper awards at the 4th WCOA held at Chennai in year 2016.

It was a wonderful example of the wheel having gone a full circle when Dr VV.Jaichandran who as a pioneer and champion of ophthalmic anesthesia in the country had contributed greatly to its recognition and growth as a critical sub specialty, was elected unopposed as the ‘International President of the World Congress of Ophthalmic Anesthesia’ (WCOA), the global body and umbrella organization engaged in the development, research, exchange of best practices and administration of this field, for the period 2020-24. It was a most befitting acknowledgment and honour coming in a year considered significant for the field of ophthalmology for the man who had been in the forefront of making the dream and vision of living legend Dr SS.Badrinath, to find a rightful and well deserved place for ophthalmic anesthesia and developing it further, a reality. A great moment for the man who pioneered the revolutionary ophthalmic anesthesia simulator and was the Chief Editor of a first of its kind textbook on the niche topic titled ‘Textbook in Ophthalmic Anesthesia’ with a ‘Foreword’ by Dr SS.Badrinath launched in year 2017 and a practitioner of anesthesiology who was passionately involved in forming a professional national body for ophthalmic anesthesiologists.

It is a great honour for an institution which is credited with having sown the seeds for the recognition and growth of ophthalmic anesthesia as a critical sub-specialty through the contributions of its veterans like Dr VG Appukutty and Dr Ian Sundararajan, that its senior anesthesiologist has been honoured with the highest position in the world of Ophthalmic Anaesthesia.

The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its hearty Congratulations to Dr VV.Jaichandran its champion and pioneering anesthesiologist and wishes him a glorious and most productive innings as World President of the ‘World Congress of Ophthalmic Anaesthelogists’ (WCOA) the most coveted professional body. We are highly proud of you Doctor!!

Students from the Sankara Nethralaya academy demonstrate their expertise over a key professional skill




Most of us would recall our experience of having our blood drawn by a paramedic from our veins in a diagnostic lab or blood donation camp, our experience would vary from a very neat and quick process when the paramedic identifies the right vein, makes an almost painless puncture, draws the right amount of blood and puts a plaster over the area with no blood loss or a shoddy operation where he or she is unable to identify the vein, makes a painful puncture after several painful trial and error attempts and leaves the blood oozing after the needle is withdrawn

The study of drawing blood is called phlebotomy and is a vital learning for a lab professional. Students pursuing their Bachelors in Laboratory Technology at the Sankara Nethralaya Academy demonstrated their knowledge and skills in the Phlebotomy test conducted by the Indian Association of Paramedical Sciences on January 20th 2020 in which 350 students participated from Chennai.

We take great pleasure and pride in sharing that Jansy won the first prize and emerged as overall topper, followed by Ashwin Kumar and Sathish Kumar who shared the second prize and Priyadarshini winning the 3rd prize

The Sankara Nethralaya family conveys its hearty congratulations to its students for demonstrating their knowledge in a basic but vital part of diagnostics.