Sankara Nethralaya News

The champion in preventive and curative eye care for children is honoured with a prestigious award

VIBS 2019

The Indian arm of  Vision 2020, the global initiative towards eliminating avoidable blindness instituted the ‘Sri SN Shah Award’ for Equity:  to provide comprehensive primary eye care screenings with a focus on women and children, in year 2013 towards recognizing ‘equity of eye care services to women and children’ and to honour institutions dispensing excellent eye services to this vulnerable group. The award for year 2019 was conferred on Sankara Nethralaya in recognition of the significant contribution to preventing and treating childhood blindness by the Elite School of Optometry, its academic arm. The ESO-SN community outreach teams under Dr Anuradha Narayanan Program in-charge – School Children Eye Health, Sankara Nethralaya and Vision Screening Coordinator – Elite School of Optometry carry out massive cost free eye screening of children from the socially and economically backward sections of society living in remote villages by conducting a large number of eye screening camps in rural schools. These camps are a boon to children living in the backward regions of the country to whom school screening is the only access to quality eye care, children found with refractive errors are dispensed with cost free glasses and those needing ophthalmic intervention are referred to the base hospital for cost free treatment.  It would be noteworthy to mention here that the SN-ESO joint effort towards screening this delicate group has found its pride of place in the ‘Limca Book of Records’ for the largest number of school children screened in a single day.

The Sri SN Shah award for equity, consisting of a cash prize of INR 10,000 and a citation were presented by His Excellency Banwarilal Purohit, the Honourable Governor of Tamil Nadu, at the 15th Vision 2020 conference held on the 8th of June 2019, at the Arvind Eye Hospital, Chennai and received on behalf of Sankara Nethralaya by Dr Anuradha  Narayanan.

VIBS – Hands-on Summer Training programme (13th -31st May 2019)

VIBS 2019

The annual Hands-on-summer training programme (13thMay and 31st May 2019) was conducted by the Vidyasagar Institute of Bio-Medical Science (VIBS), a unit of Medical Research Foundation (MRF) with an objective of imparting real time knowledge and experience on advanced techniques in their chosen fields of Microbiology, Genetics and Biochemistry. A total of 19 candidates, (7 in R.S. Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 6 each in SN ONGC Genetics & Molecular Biology and L & T Microbiology Research Centre) underwent training under this program. The  participants were from Stella Maris College, Chennai (5), Women’s Christian College, Chennai (2),Vels University, Chennai(1),Rajalakshmi Engineering College, Chennai (5), Jeppiaar Engineering College, Chennai (1), V.O.Chidambaram College, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tuticorin (1), Bharath Institute of Higher Education and Research (BIHER), Chennai (2), Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) University, Vellore (1) and Chettinad Hospital and Research Institute, Chennai (1).

The Valedictory function was conducted on 31st May 2019 at 3pm at the Lecture Hall, Ist Floor KNBIRVO Building.  Dr.H.N.Madhavan, Director of VIBS was the Chief Guest for the function. Dr.K. Lily Therese ( VIBS – Co-ordinator) welcomed the participants and the function started with a prayer song by Ms.Harshavardhini from Genetics department. Dr.H.N.Madhavan addressed the participants and appreciated the interest of the participants in learning the various techniques. Dr. K Lily Therese updated the attendees on the activities of VIBS till May 2019 in a detailed manner, she gratefully acknowledged the faculty scientists and technical staff involved in training the students and the management of Vision Research Foundation & Medical Research Foundation for providing the facility and the Founder of VIBS, Late Padmashri Iravatham Mahadevan, IAS, for providing the wonderful opportunity to train the Post graduate students from various Science & Arts Colleges & Research Institutions. The HODs from the respective departments who imparted the training shared their experience and appreciated the enthusiasm and involvement with which the participants learnt the techniques they were taught. The participants performed well in the evaluation conducted at the end of the program by all three departments.  They (one representative from each dept) gave a good feedback on the training programme and assured to impart the knowledge and skills they acquired to their juniors and colleagues in their respective colleges. Dr.Sinnakaruppan Mathavan, Dr.N. Angayarkanni and Dr.H.N.Madhavan, distributed the certificates to the successful candidates.

The function came to an end with a warm Vote of Thanks by Dr.K. Lily Therese, Programme Co-ordinator, VIBS. The function ended with high tea and a group photograph at the entrance of the KNBIRVO building.

The pioneer in ‘Myopia’ care takes a far sighted view of the malady emerging in threatening proportions

Light and Vision

As an institution which has several water shed initiatives in better understanding, controlling and preventing ‘Myopia’ like starting an exclusive ‘Myopia Control Clinic’, the role played in the launch of ‘Myopin’ an effective drug against the ailment in the country and the pride of its head of optometry and optical services being conferred with a PhD by the Anglia Ruskin University, UK for his in-depth findings on ‘Myopia’, the optometrists and Ophthalmologists of the ‘Myopia Control Clinic’ at Sankara Nethralaya’s main campus rose gloriously to the occasion of ‘Myopia Awareness Week’ being declared by the ‘ World Council of Optometry’ as the period between 13th – 19th May 2019.

Long time crusader against Myopia and champion of the Myopia Control Clinic at the institution, Dr Rizwana Hussaindeen summed up the purpose of the event succinctly as 1. To educate and create awareness on an ailment which is a lifelong financial burden which one has to bear on changing one’s spectacles periodically 2. The negative effect that wearing of glasses can have on one’s lifestyle and most importantly 3. The loss of vision that uncontrolled Myopia can lead to. The Assistant Professor at the Elite School of Optometry with an enduring interest in children’s eye health and an active player in the institution’s school screening camps shared alarming statistics on the impact of the ailment according to which ½ of the world is likely to become Myopic by year 2050, with close to a billion being in the category of ‘Highly Myopic’, she cited Japan, China and South East Asian nations as showing signs of this threatening epidemic with a majority of their citizens being bespectacled at a very early age, she quickly reassured that in comparison India was in a safer position but still cannot afford to treat the threat mildly and take steps on a war footing. Dr Rizwana underlined that myopia was not a simple open and shut problem which could be addressed by simply wearing a pair of glasses that the optometrist prescribes but an ailment which calls for a more serious approach.

It was day of extraordinary edutainment, the interns from the ESO and optometrists from the Myopia Control Clinic spread the word on the topic of the day through a series of fun games and brain teasers, brilliantly conceptualized by Ms. Aparna, Chief Optometrist, Myopia Control clinic, currently working on her doctoral thesis on the challenge of better understanding the risk factors contributing to Myopia progression. Ms Aparna combined her subject matter expertise on Myopia and remarkable creative skills to mentor the interns of the Elite school of Optometry and the Optometrists of the Myopia clinic (Ms. Anusha, Mr. Sourabh, Ms. Sangita Das and Ms. Aishwarya) who rose to the occasion with extraordinary skills and creativity which reflected through Myopia book marks, Fun memes and Skit show.

Senior Consultant, Paediatric Ophthalmology Department and Director Academics, Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan, an expert and veteran in the field blended her talk on Myopia with the spirit of the day with a racy, humour laced and interactive session that opened the eyes of the audience to the common follies they have ignored. The senior consultant whose services have been sought by ORBIS to train paediatric ophthalmologists in China in ensuring children’s eye health shared a lot of food for thought and simple but far reaching solutions to the ailment which largely affects children. Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan strongly underlined that the best route to good physical and mental health of children would be for them to get outdoors and play under the Sun, as natural light reduces the onset of Myopia, she urged parents to ensure that their child’s ‘screen time’ was limited to optimum levels and suggested that this time could be made less harmful on the child’s eye if the images/content received on the hand held phone or laptop could be beamed on to the big screen of the TV at home which the child could see and decipher from a healthy distance, instead of holding the screen of the device close to the eyes and straining it continously. The senior ophthalmologists cautioned that ‘Myopia’ is not a light thing as it is perceived to be and if left unchecked could lead to retinal lesions/detachment.

It was an evening of fun and entertainment with a message, talks by veterans in the field of ophthalmology and optometry coupled with distribution of awareness materials and WHO’s technology guidelines released on the occasion providing a lot of take home messages on Myopia.

As an institution which has several water shed initiatives in better understanding, controlling and preventing ‘Myopia’ like starting an exclusive ‘Myopia Control Clinic’, the role played in the launch of ‘Myopin’ an effective drug against the ailment in the country and the pride of its head of optometry and optical services being conferred with a PhD by the Anglia Ruskin University, UK for his in-depth findings on ‘Myopia’, the optometrists and Ophthalmologists of the ‘Myopia Control Clinic’ at Sankara Nethralaya’s main campus rose gloriously to the occasion of ‘Myopia Awareness Week’ being declared by the ‘ World Council of Optometry’ as the period between 13th – 19th May 2019.

The Champions of Light and Vision get a hands on feel of darkness and despair!

Light and Vision

There is a popular adage in the Tamil language that only when one goes out into the sweltering heat of the hot sun does one realize the pleasure of the cool shade and shelter, it was an extension of this adage when the US gave its classic tribute to the man who leveraged the power of electricity to light up the world.  The President of the USA appealed to every citizen to pay his/her last tribute to Thomas Alva Edison the inventor of the electric bulb when he died in year 1931, not by brightening up the nation by flooding every nook and corner with ‘Light’ through the electric bulb which he invented, as one may have anticipated, what the President emphatically appealed was just the opposite, he requested that every bulb in the homes, streets and offices, commercial establishments be switched off! and the nation be plunged into absolute darkness for two full minutes to remind/demonstrate to the people how the world looked before the discovery of the electric bulb! by the great inventor

Students of the Sankara Nethralaya Academy the academic arm of Sankara Nethralaya the pioneer and champion in dispelling darkness and reviving the joy of vision took part in a novel exercise of experiencing what vision impairment and the despair of darkness in real time by depriving themselves of sight, just as the US President had deprived light to his people many years ago. The novel experiment was conceptualized by Dr Anuja Singh, Vice Principal, TSNA, planned Ms Sarika- Head, Low Vision Clinic and executed by Ms RS.Saranya Head, Vision Enhancement Clinic with amazing support from Mr Srinivas, a trained in independent mobility skills undergoing intensive training in ‘assistive software’ at the Vision Enhancement Clinic, as part of ‘World Optometry Day’ celebrations. To quote the words of Ms Saranya, the idea was to empathize with the visually impaired and understand the pain of blindness and the uncertainties and fear that the visually impaired faced every minute by literally getting into their shoes, by experiencing what ‘not seeing’ is all about.

Light and Vision

The setting for the experiment was seemingly very simple, a group of students had to simply stroll a couple of yards to a make shift tea shop, take their seats and help themselves to a sip of water and some tea which they had to pour into their glasses from different jugs, a strip of cloth over their eyes keeping the light out and making them blindfolded momentarily underlined the power of ‘Vision’ and ‘light’ to the champions of vision and viewers alike in a manner nothing else could have. It was an eye opening spectacle as the participants walked with unsure steps, clinging to each other’s hands for security and an all pervading fear of the unknown, tripping against obstacles as they made their way to the wayside cafe, a distance which took an inordinately longer time to cover than it would normally do. Coffee the caffeine drink is supposed to brighten the drowsy and make them bright but this ‘Blind ‘coffee in the dark’ party’ was a different affair with the guests fumbling for the water jugs, tumblers and coffee mugs and spilling generous quantities of the fluids on themselves, their friends partying with them and the table cloth.

The ‘coffee in the dark’ party’ had some surprise lessons too, participants realized after a while that their other faculties became sharper and rose to the occasion when their main partner was missing in action and students could gauge the environment better with the surrounding sounds and smells but what came as a big surprise to them after the exercise was when they learnt that the man who held them and guided them from tripping and falling was himself a vision challenged person from the Vision Enhancement Clinic. The observations and feedback by Ms Sarika and the participants came as a great learning and strengthened the resolve to serve the visually impaired even more. The eventful evening came to an end with a warm vote of thanks to the students, organizing faculty and spectators for their presence and participation, by Dr Anuja Singh the person behind the drama with a strong lesson.

The taste of the coffee in terms of the lessons learnt would linger in the minds of the organizers, participants and viewers for a long time to come, which was its very objective.

A veteran and pioneer is honoured with the gold standard in her specialty

APSICON-2018

We take great pride and pleasure in sharing the great news that Dr Nirmala Subramanian one of our senior most Consultants and Professor Emeritus, Oculoplastic Surgery and Senior Consultant at the Department of Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery has been honoured with the highly prestigious ‘APSI – Plastic Surgeon for the Year-2018 award’ instituted by the Dr KS. Shekar Endowment. It was a moment of crowning glory for the veteran and highly respected figure in the field with an international exposure and several ‘Firsts’ to her credit as she walked up to the dais to receive the award considered as the gold standard in the field of plastic surgery from Professor RP Sahi, Retired HOD-Department of Surgery and Professor ML Bhat Vice Chancellor King George Medical College and University Lucknow, to the thunderous applause of the Surgeons fraternity assembled in large number at the ‘APSICON-2018’ the ‘53rd Annual Conference of Association of Plastic Surgeons of India’ held at Lucknow in November 2018. The citation of the award describing the distinguished recipient as a ‘Dedicated Surgeon, Excellent Teacher and Avid Learner’ reflected the qualities of excellence in clinical care, knowledge acquisition and dissemination and research, the founding principles of the institution where she pioneered the ‘Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Services department almost 4 decades back and serves with utmost sincerity and compassion to this day.

The Sankara Nethralaya family puts its hands together for a thunderous standing ovation to its beloved Dr NS and wishes her many more years of service to society, accomplishments and recognitions.

Sankara Nethralaya salutes is founding father on his birth centenary

Shri Chimanlal Ujamshibhai Shah is among the foremost of independent India’s philanthropists, educationists and visionaries, a man who is credited with the founding of a large number of educational, healthcare institutions, charitable trusts serving the needy across Gujarat, Mumbai and Chennai. A man who not only helped in the creation of these institutions but also took active interest in their operation and growth.  He is referred to with reverence as the ‘Founding Father’ by the Sankara Nethralaya family as an acknowledgement to the faith he imposed on a young Dr SS.Badrinath and contributed a large sum of money which became the ‘Seed Capital’ for the initiative which would bring back th light of vision and smile to millions, a seed which would become a large banyan tree of relief and pain alleviation. The Sankara Nethralaya family joined thousands all over India in paying their homage and expressing their gratitude to the great man to whom they owed their inception. The presence of his Mrs Minal Shah his daughter  and torch bearer of his noble deeds who was keeping his legacy alive made the event momentous, the invocation compose by her describing him as a ‘Karmayogi’ and ‘Paropakari’ summed up his personality and the admiration of a beloved daughter and set the tone for the day’s proceedings. Recalling the man who quietly joined a queue of members from the general public to make his donation in response to an appeal made by the then Chief Minister Dr MG Ramachandran, Dr TS Surendran,Vice Chairman Sankara Nethralaya and a man associated with it almost since inception described him as an epitome of Gujarati hospitality and charity and the seed he sowed having grown into a large banyan tree. Speaking on the occasion Dr Girish Rao described him as a ‘Karmayogi’ who made a difference to the world he lived through his massive funding of healthcare and educational institutions a man who lived life in his own terms, eminent educationist and advocate Lion Haridas described him as a man who went about his charity with humility and silence.

Real time tribute came in the form of a large number of students receiving their Fellowship in their chosen areas of specialization, a fulfillment of his dream. A highly moved Minal Shah expressed her joy at her father being referred to as ‘Founding Father’ describing her father as a strong willed, benevolent, sincere intellectual who had the highest faith and confidence in Dr SS.Badrinath and his dream of eradicating blindness, which resulted in the divine alliance, the illustrious daughter of an illustrious father emphasized to the graduating Fellows that they were torchbearers of this rich legacy of selfless service which thy should imbibe and uphold.

The day also witnessed the presenting of the Ram Dhingra Educational scholarships to children of deserving employees.

Stalwarts join the SN family in recalling the greatness of a great friend and supporter of the institution

Members of the Sankara Nethralaya gathered in large numbers at the Sri VD.Swami auditorium to pay their homage and express their gratitude to one of the institution’s greatest friend and supporter, admirer and well iwher, a man whose generous contribution has special significance to its knowledge dissemination initiatives as it laid the foundation for many young minds to acquire knowledge,skills and grow, the contribution also assumed significance as it was the life time saving of an upright civil servant, almost all that he could manage to set aside from his personal income. Dr Lily Therese and Dr Angayarkanni Senior Scientists and Researchers from the institution’s research wing spoke in glowing terms of the man who did not give lengthy sermons but translated his dream through actions a man who embodied the adage ‘Simple living and high thinking’ a man who helped in creating and operating an educational institution (VIBS) which would create the building blocks of future India by imparting education and skills to a large number of students every year, an instititon which has the rare distinction of creating 60 PhD scholars, they recalled the qualities of humility, meticulousness, punctuality.

The presence of a diverse range of eminent personalities like Shri N.Ram, Managing Director, ‘The Hindu’, Mr AR Venkatachalapathi from the Madras Institute of Management studies, Shri Tiruppur Krishnan, Editor, Amudhsurabhi, Swami Vimurthanandaji, Head-RK Mutt, Shri Venugopal, Chief Trustee, RK Mutt was a sign of the multifaceted personality and great man that late Iravatham Mahadevan was. The distinguished speakers who shared their time spoke high about different facets of his character, they hailed him as a intellectual with a scientific temperament, open to new ideas, a man who believed in evidence based approach a researcher, administrator, philosopher, extraordinary litterateur a fearless commentator whose period was a golden age in Tamil journalism and above all a man who found great joy in the act of giving.

A healthcare pioneer and his landmark institution find their pride of place at niche ‘Science outreach program’

The Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), founded by world famous Mathematician Alladi Ramakrishnan in 1962, is an autonomous national institution for fundamental research in the areas of Theoretical Physics, Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science and Computational Biology. The highly prestigious Chennai based research centre engages itself in a niche exercise of demystifying complex scientific algorithms and equations by presenting them in a lively, illustrative narration to anyone with a passion to science. The 4th edition of this immensely popular annual ‘Science Outreach’ initiative named ‘Science at the Sabha’ will be held at the Music Academy’ TTK Road, Mylapore, Chennai between 4:30pm – 7:00pm on Sunday the 24th of February 2019

While the knowledge dissemination proceedings at the auditorium would showcase the complex algorithms and equations of Science and its wonders in its multiple facets, in a most alluring manner, the organizers have decided to showcase the human side of Science, Science in the service of man and how exemplary men and women of Science leveraged it to alleviate pain and suffering of mankind, by holding a photo exhibition at the lounge, showcasing this great city’s glorious tradition in Science, Mathematics, Education and Public Service along with the great visionaries and architects and their landmark institutions that helped in defining them.

It is a matter of great pride to every one of us that the organizers have recognized ‘Chief’ and Sankara Nethralaya as part of the glorious Science legacy of the city and the exhibition would include proud images of both.

Please make it convenient to attend this most enlightening and enjoyable session, entry is free but pre-registration is mandatory so do remember to register online as an attendee by clicking the link below

http://www.imsc.res.in/triveni
Happy learning!

In-depth talks by renowned subject matter experts open the floodgates to better understanding and management of ophthalmic disorders

In-depth talks by Dr Mohamed javed Ali eminent Dacrylogist heading the Govind Sekasria Institute of Dacrylogy at the LV Prasad Eye Hospital and Dr Carlos Pavesio, Medical Retinal Director,MoorfieldsHospital, UK helped in a broader understanding of the subject for participants from Sankara Nethralaya and external attendees. Mirage-The Myth of Watering a conference organized by the Department of Oculoplasty proved to be an oasis of knowledge with the world renowned expert on dacrylogy especially the lacrrimal drainage system sharing his views on the subject. The eminent ophthalmologist underlined the need to be a good clinician and scientist to make an impact. The guest lecture by Dr Carlos Pavesio the highly acclaimed authority on the Retina began with a fulsome praise to one of the the host institution boasting of one of the world’s largest and well equipped and manned by experts Vitreo-Retina department in the world, hailing Sankara Nethralaya as an amazing institution the eminent ophthalmologist observed that coming to the institution has always been a great learning and adding to his experience, The expert gave an elaborate talk covering topics like gluco therapy in treating uveitis, the reservation that purists in the field had to the usage of drugs which they termed as ‘toxic’, macular edema,modalities for ocular dry syndrome,VEGF in Uveitis, anti VEGF perceoptions, AMD etc. The talks helped in a healthy exchange of views and dissemination of knowledge.

The Sankara Nethralaya academy conducts an extensive health check of the health care industry

Healthcare Management

As an academic institution committed to dissemination of knowledge for the common good of society and adopting a holistic view to healthcare delivery, the Sankara Nethralaya Academy conducted a high power seminar titled ‘National Seminar on Emerging Paradigms in Healthcare Management’ on the 9th of February 2019. The objective and goal of the exercise was summed succinctly as an attempt to enhance healthcare service leading to a better and healthier society through collaboration between the science of healthcare and art of management by Shri G.Senthil Kumar, Assistant Professor, TSNA and active organizer of the event. The seminar could possibly termed as first of its kind as it dwelt in-depth into both the operational challenges of dispensing healthcare in terms of attrition of resource, branding, marketing and on the other hand on the healthcare delivery vis a vis the apportioning of costs, roles of the service provider, government bodies etc. Describing ‘Health’ as nothing but the absence of ‘ailments’ Dr S.Ramani, Principal TSNA highlighted that in the olden days man lived in perfect alignment with nature but today we are challenged by health issues disrupting life in spite of technological advancements and only disruptive technology can address the same and the challenges that lay ahead in healthcare dispensing are quality and affordability. Dr Anuja Singh, Vice Principal, TSNA leveraged the opportunity to showcase her institution and highlight its achievements to the distinguished audience and attendees.  Speaking on the occasion Dr R.Chandrasekhara Menon, Dean, Kalasalingam University, Srivilliputur went into the basics of healthcare dispensing in terms of who should profit out of the entire operation the beneficiary, hospital the government, the insurance firm? Delivering the keynote address Dr TS. Selvavinayagam, Additional Director, Tamil Nadu health System project an arm of the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of TN emphasised the advantages of preventive care over curative care in terms of cost and avoiding human suffering leading to better quality of life. The senior bureaucrat underlined the high advantage of scale when the government procures healthcare (drugs, diagnosis and clinical care) from the private healthcare providers and dispenses it to the public which would drastically reduce the cost of consumption per patient. Dr Selvavinayagam concluded his keynote address with high word of praise for the TSNA in terms of its infrastructure, trailblazing courses and quality of knowledge dissemination. The highlight of the seminar was a panel discussion by experts from different fields on the topic’ Healthcare – Quality Vs affordability’