Sankara Nethralaya News

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.

Head of iconic Tamil weekly strikes a positive note at the 71st R- Day celebrations at Sankara Nethralaya

The 71st Republic Day Celebrations at Sankara Nethralaya began with a reverential recollection to the Founding fathers of the nation who in their wisdom and foresight chose to adopt the sovereign, socialist, republic model as the newly independent nation’s model of governance and a special mention of Dr BR Ambedkar who drafted the Indian constitution as one of the most voluminous governance treatise consisting of 440 articles, which adapted the best from the constitutions of several nations.

Extending a warm welcome to the distinguished Chief Guest Shri Varadarajan Parthasarathy, Chairman & Managing Director, Kumudham Publications, Dr TS Surendran, Vice-Chairman and Shri AP Irungovel , Manager – Patient Education & Counseling recalled the glorious history of the magazine, the accuracy and impartiality of its reports, its immense popularity on account of its illuminate and educate approach and its employee friendly management.

Delivering the Chief Guest’s address Shri Varadarajan Parthasarathy  described Sankara Nethralaya as a mini India, he observed that he chose to speak in English on the occasion after some contemplation whether he should be speaking in Tamil or English as the institition and its founder were known all over India, he recalled an incident when a lady from Malmo whom he met when he was on a business visit to Sweden, inquiring about Dr SS.Badrinath and his institution, he reiterated that hence it would be more apt to speak in English at an institution which is in the eye of the world.

Conveying his hearty R Day greetings to the gathering, the distinguished chief guest implored that it was every citizen’s duty to recall the freedom fighters and founding fathers for choosing the sovereign,socialist republic model of governance for the newly Independent nation,which ensured liberty,fraternity and equality to all its citizens. He strongly underlined the remarkable advancements and achievements made by the Indian Republic in a wide sphere of human endeavor like poverty alleviation, reduction of unemployment,literacy,telecom, health care, abundant availability of essentials etc which he said is the right tribute to the founding fathers of the Republic of India. The distinguished chief guest ended his powerful talk with his strong observation that upliftment of the poor and weaker sections of society like women and children would be the benchmark of growth of future India.

The momentous day witnessed rendering of patriotic songs by the members of the Sankara Nethralaya family and acknowledgment of employees for long service, regular attendance and merit awards for the children of employees.

India’s Oil and Gas major energizes Sankara Nethralaya’s cost free community service to the poor and needy!

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is among Sankara Nethralaya’s old supporters and friends, especially its cost free community services. The Maharatna Oil & Gas giant gave a head start to the institution’s  exclusive community care center coming up at its own premises at the VG Appukutty campus, St.Thomas Mount,Chennai, by donating critical equipment for the center’s operation theatre, under its ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR) initiative. The contribution was formalized through an MoU signed on behalf of BPCL by Mr  Mr M.V. Shenoy, GM (South)–HRS  and presented to Mr T S Parthasarathy, In-Charge, CSR department, Sankara Nethralaya.

Sankara Nethralaya family thanks BPCL for this most timely and generous gesture, on behalf of the numerous indigent patients who would benefit from this critical input.

In-depth video graphic demonstration by SN’s Senior VR Surgeon wins high recognition at major topical meet


An in-depth and highly educative video by Dr Ekta Rishi, Senior Consultant at the Shri Bhagwan Mahavir Vitro-Retinal services, showcasing a surgical solution to the twin VR challenge of permanent keratroprosthesis and endopthalmitis, through vitrectomy, followed by effective visual rehabilitation of the patient, was acknowledged as the ‘Best Video’ at the 28th Annual Conference of the Vitroretinal Society of India (VRSI-2019) held at Lucknow between the 5th – 8th December 2019.

The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses it hearty congratulations and applauds Dr Ekta Rishi on her video on a critical VR challenge, winning high recognition at a highly prestigious meet attended by senior VR professionals from all over the country.

Students of the TSNA add a winning curve to their learning curve!

Optical Dispensing

‘Optical Dispensing’ is a niche specialty that combines the corrective,remedial elements of dispensing visual aids to right fit and right match of the user with the marketing aspects, a critical combination which gives optometrists the winning edge in a real time scenario. A Fellowship certification in this fine art combining the commercial and dispensing aspects, by a world renowned optometry institution is the Gold standard in the field which could significantly enhance the career prospects of the candidate in any part of the world, hence it was a moment to rejoice when Shakthipriya, Ameera, Kokila and Jayanthi belonging to the first batch of students pursuing their B.Sc in ophthalmic dispensing at the Sankara Nethralaya Academy were awarded their Fellowship in optical dispensing, by the Association of British Dispensing Optometrists, (ABDO) UK

The Sankara Nethralaya Academy and Sankara Nethralaya convey their hearty congratulations to the successful Fellows for this high acknowledgment by the world leader in its field and wish them a bright future and many more academic milestones.

A dynamic civil servant and a media legend rise gloriously to a call for creating awareness an eye care challenge effecting children

Synergy 2019

The 5th annual all India meet of the Strabismus & Pediatric Ophthalmology Society of India (SPOSI), the professional body of Pediatric Ophthalmologists, researchers and academicians committed to cultivate & promote the study,research and practice of strabismology, Pediatric Ophthalmology,Fellowship,interaction among members and continuing education, was hosted by Sankara Nethralaya, a pioneer and leader in Pediatric Ophthalmology and correction of refractive errors and squint, on the 7th and 8th of December 2019. Organizing Chairman SPOSI and ‘Lifetime achievement’ award winner for his contribution to Pediatric Ophthalmology Dr TS Surendran, Director Pediatric Ophthalmology & Vice Chairman Sankara Nethralaya set the tone to the evening with a warm greeting and welcome to the dignitaries and attendees and a quick note on Sankara Nethralaya, the host institution with which he has been associated almost since its inception.

Presenting the annual report of the body, Professor Yogesh Shukla, Secretary – SPOSI explained how the Strabismus Society of India (SSI) became the ‘Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology Society of India’ in due course to include other Pediatric specialties like Pediatric Cataract, Pediatric Glaucoma along with Pediatric Strabismus. Describing Pediatric Ophthalmology as an understudied, hard to pursue and low paying sub specialty, he hailed the SPOSI as a dedicated body in the forefront of advocacy,awareness creation and training of this niche field, a body which has grown from a strength of 500 to 940 in 5 years, making it the largest ophthalmic sub specialty society in the country, a professional body acclaimed in prestigious overseas journals,visited by the American Pediatric Ophthalmology Society, SAARC etc. Dr Pradeep Sharma, president SPOSI hailed the great work done by the body in terms of awareness week, Kids I care week etc, he emphasized that squint was not a cosmetic problem and appealed that squint correction surgery should be covered by insurance companies like other vision reviving ophthalmic processes.

Synergy 2019

President elect SPOSI Dr S. Khokar hailed as an outstanding Pediatric Cataract surgeon,Teacher, Pioneer, Author and speaker by Dr Pradeep Sharma, present President, emphasized that given the large numbers and sheer diversity of cases in this specialty handled in India, it should be the West which should look to us for a better understanding of the same, including training and pursuing Fellowships in India. The evening witnessed some major knowledge dissemination and awareness creation on the subject by way of the launch of the ‘Atlas on Pediatric Ophthalmology’, ‘Atlas on Pediatric Cataract Surgery’ and ‘Visual and Related Anomalies in Children’ a comprehensive compilation by Dr S.Khokar and a highly interesting and informative awareness teaser on ‘Myopia Control’ aimed at the common man by Shri Badri Surendran which was launched by the Guest of honour Shri N.Ram. It was also an evening of honouring and acknowledging all those who contributed to the cause of pediatric ophthalmology, major awards including the ‘Lifetime Achievement award’ were presented by the Chief Guest

A deep involvement in the proceedings and initiatives and warm spontaneous gestures by a spirited health ministry official and a veteran from the Fourth estate, gracing the occasion underlined the collective effort and shared responsibility that made the State a preferred health care destination and raised the spirit of the evening. Delivering the guest of honour address, long time friend and well wisher of Sankara Nethralaya Shri N.Ram, Chairman, Hindu Group Publishing Pvt Ltd started his talk with the observation that it is Dr SS.Badrinath’s vision that led to such wonderful things in the field of ophthalmology, it was an interesting paradox when the man hailed as a wordsmith and whose publication is credited with polishing the language skills of generations of Indians admired the conspicuous absence of ‘Words’ in the day’s proceedings, a rich compliment to the achievers of the evening for the ‘few words’ that they deployed to describe the high levels of training, advocacy, awareness and great achievements, which others would have made much more noise about. The senior journalist and thought leader expressed concern on the rising instance of Myopia in the country, terming it as a crisis in the offing he called for the young generation which was most vulnerable to the threat to spend more time outdoors and take healthy food, he emphasized that the electronic and print media has a moral and ethical responsibility to raise awareness on such neglected issues in society by dedicating free space for good awareness articles. Striking a different chord from the observation of the SPOSI secretary Prof Yogesh Sharma who rued that Pediatric ophthalmology was a underprivileged and understudied sub sect, Chief Guest of the evening Dr Beela Rajesh, IAS, Secretary to the TN Government,Health & Family Welfare Dept hailed it as a ‘Super sub sect’ of ophthalmology. Breaking from protocol the dynamic civil servant left her seat at the dais and took a quick walk all the way to the last row of the auditorium where Founder& Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya Dr SS.Badrinath, had taken his seat along with the attendees, to join him in launching the SPOSI journal, adding that it was her honour to do so.The senior bureaucrat expressed relief that children who constituted 40% of those needing eye care were very safe under the care of SPOSI. Hailing Sankara Nethralaya as a legend and landmark of Chennai, she congratulated the SPOSI for its wholesome approach to the issue of Strabismus and overall children’s eye care. Observing that lack of vision is worse than being blind she listed the trailblazing health care initiatives of the State government such as induction of 32 Tele ophthalmology units for tertiary care, focus on Pediatric Ophthalmology and ante natal care. Praising Sankara Nethralaya’s extraordinary genetic mapping she invited the institution to collaborate with the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology and Government Ophthalmic Hospital, Chennai (RIOH) in tackling eye issues of the poor and needy. The proactive health dept official advised that nutrition and preventive care should be strongly emphasized in health care dispensing as today’s busy life led to a neglect of the same and suggested that ‘eye exercises’ can also be popularized as a preventive measure, she closed her talk with a warm invite to the RIOH museum and a call for massive public -private participation in conducting a mega ophthalmic initiative.

The highly absorbing and enlightening two day conference covering the A to Z of pediatric ophthalmology in terms of panel discussions,quiz, pot pourri,’Meet the Masters’ interesting case presentations,videos,exchange of latest diagnostic and minimally invasive treatment modalities which started with a highly educative pre -conference workshop on the 6th of December, came to a close with a sincere vote of thanks to all those who made it a grand success, by Dr Sumita Agarkar, Organizing Secretary – SPOSI and Deputy Director, Pediatric Ophthalmology Department, Sankara Nethralaya.

Big dreams, big achievements and big relief win big honours!


Terms like enterprising spirit, dreaming big, increasing market share and business innovation seem typically in sync with large commercial enterprises operating in a competitive marketplace. These qualities appear out of place in a not for profit, service oriented environment as they are essentially viewed as qualities that commercial enterprises need to survive, sustain and win in a tough marketplace. As an institution Sankara Nethralaya has proved several times that a not for profit, service oriented institution can also leverage these qualities as much as commercial enterprises to fulfil its mission effectively and professionally. Accolades like ‘Best Social Enterprise of the Year’, ‘Business Superbrand’ ‘Best IT adoption in Healthcare’, ‘Outstanding Institution Builder’ award to Founder & Chairman Emeritus, Dr SS.Badrinath, are testimonials of this. The institution was also chosen as a ‘Business Model’ for their case study by members of the Avicenna Leadership Program from the Innsbruck University, Austria pursuing their ‘Medical Education Leadership Course’ under the American-Austria Foundation and by the Eastern chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce, Kolkata to share its ‘Business Model’ at their seminar titled ‘Healthcare- Its reach, cost and quality’

It was a strong reiteration of the above spirit when Sankara Nethralaya was chosen as the ‘Best Healthcare Institution’ at the D2d (Dare to Dream Awards- Season-2) organized jointly by Zee Business and SAP, India. The jury applied their performance evaluation parameters of ‘Market Expansion’ (MESU & Teleophthalmology’s cost free outreach) ‘Business Innovation’ (MESU) and ‘Efficient Processes’ (overall functioning) in that order.  It is noteworthy to add that while the above qualities help an enterprise to increase its commercial worth and its stakeholder’s worth in the case of SN they helped in the common good of mankind and society at large by reviving the lostvision of a large base of underprivileged visually impaired.

The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its gratitude to the organizers of the D2d awards, organized essentially to acknowledge winning commercial business models, for acknowledging and honouring its endeavours in alleviating the pain and suffering of mankind and making them self- reliant and independent and salutes the MESU and all our outreach teams for their excellent work in reaching eye care to the unreached.

PS- We request every member of the SN family to switch on the ‘ZEE Business’ channel on Saturday 30th November 2019 (tomorrow) & Sunday 1st December 2019 at 8:30 PM and enjoy the proud moment as Dr Girish Shiva Rao, President & Medical Director, MRF receives the ‘Zee Dare to Dream’ award-2019 from Dr Rajendra Kumar, Principal Secretary & Industries Commissioner, Government of Tamil Nadu, Mr Ritwik Ray, Senior Sales Manager, SAP, India, Mr Lal Singh, General Manager, Union Bank Of India, Chennai at the glittering award ceremony held at the Hyatt Regency, Chennai.

SN celebrates its knowledge dissemination efforts in the graceful presence of a venerable Guru!

Sankara Nethralaya’s annual celebration of knowledge sharing as enshrined in its tenets and acknowledging its achievers was celebrated with panache as the “31st Graduation ceremony of the Medical Research Foundation’ on the 2nd of November 2019. The event assumed great significance as it marked the graduation of the last batch of students belonging to the Elite School of Optometry – BITS, Pilani academic collaboration and the fact that it was being held under the Aegis of a most respected guru, friend, guide, philosopher, generous supporter and the 1st Principal of the Elite School of Optometry, (ESO) Dr P P. Santanam, a man whose impeccable character, sterling virtues and lofty ideals made him the most ideal example to emulate,  in the eyes of Dr SS.Badrinath and being chosen by him to lead the fledgling institution as a ‘Role model for the students’.  A man who continues to be ‘a shining role model’ to this day not only for the students of the pioneering institution he served as the first Principal, but to every staff member, consultant, scientist and researcher at Sankara Nethralaya.

It was a sight to behold as the graduating students walked up in their dream attire, the convocation gown, to receive their certificates from the chief guest and other peers similarly clad in their colourful attire, to the thunderous applause of the audience including their proud parents. The pledge and oath that followed reminded one of a new regiment of trained and spirited warriors leaving the fort to the battle field.

There was an air of confidence and pride in the voice of the institution’s head of academics, Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan and there was good reason for the same, the institution’s sterling achievements in ‘knowledge acquisition and dissemination’ one of its founding principles, came out loud and clear as she read out the ‘Academic Report’ filled with accomplishments of its stalwarts being conferred with Diplomates, Fellowships, Awards and other honours from the most prestigious seats of learning and professional bodies in India and abroad including the AAO. Royal College of Surgeons, Glasgow, Anglia Ruskin University, American Society of Retina specialists, IJO and the World’s No-1 healthcare agency the WHO, for the impact of their research findings and contributions to overall eyecare. This was matched by the impressive number of PhD’s won, papers published in peer reviewed journals by the students of the various educational institutions of the Medical Research Foundation. The most heartening aspect of the massive knowledge acquisition being showcased was its emphasis on the common good and translation into knowledge sharing through a list of major CME’s and meets and demonstrable impact on public health and pain alleviation through measures like a directive on optimal classroom illumination and ergonomics, specialized eye testing for drivers, vision evaluation charts in local languages that a lay man can make use of on his own, inputs on niche visual needs of sportsmen etc.

The most awaited Chief Guest’s address by the highly adored and respected Dr P P Santanam, a man captured in his shining avatars as an innovator, humanitarian, inspiring teacher, dedicated member of the SN family, generous contributor to research and academics, evolved soul, academician and a man who gave back all that he had to his institution, by Dr Rizwana, Assistant Professor, ESO and Head – Binocular Vision, held the audience in rapt attention, a speech which in his characteristic style was simple yet providing a lot of food for thought and sage counsel. The pioneer and leader in occupational optometry traced the origin and growth of the institution which was dearer to him than his home and the role of all those who contributed to its growth including its prime architect and visionary Dr SS.Badrinath.

The loving and caring academician had a word of advice to the large number of students gathered to keep their grey cells superior to gadgets by constantly exercising it and to practice their vocation/profession with ethics, compassion and commitment, which will eventually pave the way for rich rewards, instead of chasing short term and unethical gains. He closed his most absorbing talk with best wishes to the graduating students and a thoughtful observation that ‘Learning is a journey, not a destination’!!

The‘Optometry Wizard’establishes her wizardry over non-optometry fields as well!

AAO 2019

Festember-2019 the grand annual cultural and talent extravaganza of the‘National Institute of Tiruchirapalli’the 3 day inter collegiate festival showcasing culture, language, talent and knowledge held in October 2019, witnessed the exhibition of young talent and youth power in good measure. Keen participation from premium educational institutions like IIT-M, NIT Pondicherry, SRM University, NIT Trichy, ESO-SASTRA ensured non-stop action without a moment of dullness.

Mehal P.Rathore pursuing her Masters in Optometry under the ESO-SASTRA joint academic collaboration, the bright student whom readers would recall being honoured with the coveted title of ‘Optometry Wizard’ by Essilor, the leading optical devices company, for her proven mastery over a broad spectrum of subjects as diverse as clinical ophthalmology, ocular disease, clinical optometry, contact lens, Low Vision Aids, Binocular Vision and dispensing optics in a prestigious national competition. Mehal rose to the occasion once again at the Festember-2019, to prove that she is a force to reckon with in topics out of the ambit of optometry as well. Representing ‘Unmaad’ the Hindi literature club at SASTRA, the brilliant student exhibited great creativity, grasp, speed of communication and an enviable recall of old and new cinema and music to walk away with the first prize in both the dumb charades & Hindi music and cinema quiz.

The Sankara Nethralaya family applauds its young members superlative performance and honours in a keenly contested cultural event and wishes her a fun and knowledge filled academic journey.