Sankara Nethralaya News

1st Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan Memorial Scientific Session 9 Sep 2020

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.

Sankara Nethralaya Celebrates Forty Two Years of Selfless Service

On 6th September 2020, Sankara Nethralaya celebrated our 43rd Foundation Day very differently to previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sankara Nethralaya family got together digitally to celebrate forty-two years of bringing vision to the haves and have-nots alike.

Our President, Dr. Girish Rao, opened the proceedings by thanking the front-line warriors and everyone who worked even during the intense lockdown and are the face of SN when patients walk into Sankara Nethralaya. He handed over the evening’s virtual program to the compere, Dr. N. Radhika. The melodious Dr. S. Meenakshi sang the invocation song, which is one of Dr. S. S. Badrinath’s favourites.

Founded on Ganesh Chathurthi (6th September) in 1978, Dr. S. S. Badrinath envisioned Sankara Nethralya as a non-profit hospital that provides vision to the sightless and enable them to be active contributors to society. Sankara Nethralaya’s unique not-for-profit model relies on contributions for all its community services and on paying patients for day-to-day operations.

Dr. T. S. Surendran guided us through SN’s journey to become what it is today. From the inaugural ceremony to the original building in which Sankara Nethralaya started, Dr. T.S.S led us back to the heady days of Sankara Nethralaya’s foundation He has witnessed every major event that occurred at SN and the many achievements in the field of ophthalmology

Our beloved Chief and Madam, Dr. S. S. Badrinath and Dr. (Mrs.) Vasanthi Badrinath joined the virtual celebrations to bless Sankara Nethralaya staff and their families. They recalled the long hard road to establish Sankara Nethralaya as the premier institute for eye care imbibed with the spirit of service to society regardless of ability to pay. Chief rededicated SN to the mission of bringing vision to the poor and reminded us to be resilient in these trying times, and to put more energy to take Sankara Nethralaya to new heights.

Following in the footsteps of our Chief, Dr. Badrinath, is indeed a tall order. The tradition of hard work and dedication was cemented by him during the early days when he used to start surgeries as early as 5 a.m. and continue work until 9 p.m, along with his administrative duties. Our Chief never visualised his life’s work as a corporate hospital, an unusual occurrence even today.

Dr. S. Bhaskaran; Dr. Ian Sundaraj; Dr. K.S. Vasan; Dr. L. Vijaya; Dr. Prema Padmanabhan; Dr. Nirmala Subramanian; Dr. J. Biswas; Dr. Pramod Bhende; Dr. S. Meenakshi; Dr. Suchetna Mukherjee (Kolkata); Ms. Surekha Mehta; Dr. Anuradha Narayanan; Ms. Sreedevi C G; Ms. Sudha Mohan; Ms. Malathi G. G; and Ms. Yuvarani were among the senior staff members who shared many of their unforgettable memories of training & working under Dr. S. S. Badrinath, and the valuable lessons they imbibed under his awe-inspiring tutelage.

Dr. S. Meenakshi, also presented a vivacious recap of all the celebrations and staff get-togethers that took place through the years.- a reminder that Sankara Nethralaya staff consider each other family.

View Sankara Nethralaya’s Founder’s Day virtual celebrations in the following link:
https://youtu.be/tIbNICmJV9Q

Sankara Nethralaya Celebrates 74 years of Indian Independence

In this 74th year of Indian Independence, Sankara Nethralaya took our time-honored Independence celebrations virtual to maintain social distancing norms. There was a limited attendance at the ceremony with Dr. Girish Rao, President – Medical Research Foundation, Dr. T. S. Surendaran, Vice-chairman and Head of the Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology, and essential staff only.

Dr. T. S. Surendaran unfurled the Indian National Flag on the 74th Indian Independence Day.

After unfurling the National flag and singing the National Anthem, Dr. T. S. Surendaran greeted everyone. Looking back to when he joined Sankara Nethralaya 43 years ago, he recollected the dedication and work ethics of our Founder, Dr. S. S. Badrinath, and his wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Vasanthi Badrinath. It is their commitment, drive, and belief in a service-oriented life, which has made Sankara Nethralaya into the Temple of the Eye that it is today, Dr. TSS said.

Acknowledging that the Covid-19 pandemic had affected Sankara Nethralaya’s regular patient inflow, he observed the adverse effect it had on the regular routines like prize distributions, which were canceled this year due to the pandemic. He praised everyone who fought at our national borders and encouraged everyone who stood at the front lines of patient care with the ever-present threat of contracting Covid-19 for their heroism.

Our staff member, Mr. Ravi, rendered a heart-felt patriotic song to rousing applause.

Dr. Girish Rao wished everyone a Happy Independence Day and observed that our 74th Independence Day was like never before. He reiterated that the only way to control the virus was social distancing, washing hands, wearing masks, contact tracing, and isolation, “at least until we have a vaccine in our hand or rather, in our arm.” Dr. Rao also encouraged his listeners with the news that over 100 vaccines are in various stages of development – an unprecedented event in the history of medical science that a viable vaccine could be available within the year. He appealed once again for everyone to follow all the region-specific standard protocols to avoid further outbreaks as seen in many regions around the world.

Dr. Girish Rao thanked everyone for making the virtual celebration possible while adhering to social distancing norms within the hospital premises.

 

 

GRT Jewellers Donates Rs. 25 lacs To Sankara Nethralaya

In these uncertain times, GRT Jewellers Ltd. has donated Rs. 25 lacs Sankara Nethralaya to provide free medical care to the underprivileged. Founded in 1964, GRT Jewellers is one of the nation’s leading jewellers for the past 50 years.

“We have already donated Rs. 1 Crore to both Sankara Nethralaya, which would help them in treating the poorest patients without any fee. But we felt moved to provide even further monetary assistance during this Corona lockdown,” says Anand Padmanabhan, Managing Director, GRT Jewellers.

G.R. Radhakrishnan, Managing Director, GRT Jewellers, clarified, “Coordinated social assistance is essential during these difficult times. People all over the world are coming together and helping each other in whatever way they can. We consider these donations as repaying the debt of gratitude for the love and support that our customers have given us.”

Daily life has been affected by Covid- 19 and the world is struggling to recover from the effects of this global pandemic. With the aim to help the community in times of crisis, GRT Jewelers has donated Rs 25 lakh to Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital.

Dr T S Surendran, Vice Chairman 0f Sankara Nethralaya said that the funding would be used for the underprivileged.

Sankara Nethralaya has been serving poor visually challenged patients with free world-class eye-care for over four decades using these donations to perform over 17,000 cataract surgeries for the underprivileged using Mobile Eye Surgical Units.

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.