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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the significant awards are:

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

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

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

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

Sankara Nethralaya USA Executive Committee & Board of Trustees appreciation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the article on Great Andhra.com, please click here:- https://www.greatandhra.com/articles/special-articles/dr-govinda-visvesvaras-150000-donation-to-sankara-n-115334

Watch the tribute video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UXO5FTSbLU

“Punar Nethra” – a one stop guide to parental training for children with Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI)

Why: Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) is a brain-based visual condition. It is becoming one of the leading causes of pediatric visual impairment in developing countries due to improved neonatal care resulting in increased survival of children with birth-related complications. Children with CVI could have associated developmental delays and disabilities which makes it very crucial for them to avail early and prompt visual assessment followed by habilitation/rehabilitation based on their visual status. We understood that with COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that came along, children with special needs and their families have been affected to a greater extent from availing these services from therapists in-person. Considering these hardships our multidisciplinary team of the Special children clinic (SCV) and Vision enhancement clinic (VEC) took the initiative to create a Youtube channel to empower, guide, support and train parents and caregivers of children with CVI to carry out the training by themselves at their houses.

What: Children with CVI can have heterogenous clinical presentations varying from just vision-related problems to concurrent disabilities such as delay in motor, speech, hearing, sensory and cognition. This channel contains videos for all age groups, variants and deficits of children with CVI. These videos are prepared and made by Ms. Saranya Sethuraman, head of the department, VEC and Ms. Jannet Philip, graduate research scholar, Elite school of optometry in Tamil and English. The specialty of this channel is that it is made customized based on the individual child’s visual needs and demands. After a comprehensive eye and vision assessment including a detailed functional vision assessment by the ophthalmologist and special children clinic optometrists, the child undergoes a Tele or an in-person consultation with the rehabilitation specialist. Based on their needs and preliminary training, the parents are advised specific videos from which they can ‘learn’ and ‘verify’ their steps and performance at home. Apart from these videos, other training materials and worksheets were shared through WhatsApp and email with the parents.

Conclusion: The main goal of this channel is to reach out to families in need and empower ‘parents’ to be ‘teachers’ for their children with visual difficulties. This initiative helps the parents to be able to provide the children with appropriate guidance with confidence through collaboration with Sankara Nethralaya’s multidisciplinary team, especially with the advent of “Tele-rehabilitation” services at the hospital during COVID-19.

Acknowledgement: A big shout out to the entire team: Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan, senior pediatric ophthalmologist who conceptualized this idea and was the sole reason behind this initiative, Dr Jameel Rizwana Hussaindeen, honorary pediatric consultant optometrist, who has been a constant source of motivation by providing ideas and valuable feedback and Ms. Saranya, Vision Rehabilitation and early intervention specialist, VEC and her team for being an integral part and sharing her expertise in this area. We extend our gratitude to the SN multimedia team for shooting, editing and uploading the videos and finally to the families of SN-CVI patients without whom this would have been impossible. You can also be a part of this initiative by subscribing to the channel and sharing this with friends, families, professionals and mainly with the ones in need of such care, during these uncertain times!

*Written informed consent has been obtained from the patient/parent for the photos

Satadina Svaraarchana – 100 days of Classical and semi-classical music concerts

Satadina Svaraarchana is a unique program of 100 days of Classical and semi-classical music concerts presented on social media through YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp, to raise awareness and funds for Sankara Nethralaya USA. This program was coordinated by Prasad Rani, Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya LA Chapter.

Commencing on Vijaya Dasami, one of the most auspicious festivals in India, Satadina Svaraarchana presented one concert each day and culminated in the 100th day on Friday, 16th April 2021. 108 artists from countries around the world including USA, India, UK, and Australia showcased their artistic talents to raise funds for indigent patients. The age of the performers ranged from 7 years to 70 years with 70% of the participants being women and girls. Around 50% were children and young adults – a great sign that the next generation is also equally engaged in learning classical art forms like music.

Over 20,000 viewers viewed, offered encouragement for the concerts on social media, and donated to bring light to a poor patient’s life. 100 percent of the comments on YouTube were positive in nature.

Last but not the least, two of the performers are worthy of special mention:

Ms. Pervela, born with a serious medical condition that confines her to bed, has not allowed her health to prevent her from following her passion for music. She performed her concert for this event, all the songs, from the confines of her bed.

Ms Yellapragada, with a rare skin condition that prevented her from stepping out of her home, and could not even attend the regular school, learned music at home through a teacher and was happy to perform the concert for Sankara Nethralaya

Since 2020, when the pandemic shook the world, Sankara Nethralaya USA team have taken up their fundraising activities on social media to increase awareness of the organization among kindhearted people around the world and to raise funds for supporting its cause.

Prasad Rani, coordinator of the event expressed sincere thanks to all the participants who made this program successful. He also thanked Sri Bala Reddy Indurti, President, Sankara Nethralaya USA, for the, the encouragement and support for the logistics and completion of the program.

Bala Indurti thanked the volunteers Prameela Gopu and Rama Shyam Appali for developing beautiful video to showcase all the singers, brand ambassadors and volunteers in Satadinaswararchana 100th day video for streaming to major TV channels TVAsia Telugu, manaTV, manaTV International, SakshiTV, TV5 and US1. Thanks are due to Prasad Rani for dedicating time for this mega project to raise funds to Indigent blind patients in India.

Bala Indurti congratulated and thanked Dr. Girish Rao, President Sankara Nethralaya and the following Sankara Nethralaya USA EC and Board of Trustees for giving video messages and encouraging Prasad Rani and Satadinaswararchana team. Sri S.V. Acharya, President Emeritus Sankara Nethralaya USA, Sri Moorthy Rekapalli, Vice Presdent; Sri Sudhakar Mattu, Secretary; Sri Sowmia Narayan, Joint Secretary; Sri Raja Krishnamurti, Joint Treasurer; Smt Leela Krishnamurthy, Past President; Sri KG Venkata Raman, Past President; Sri Krishnaraj Bhat, BOT; Dr. Raj Modi, BOT; Dr. Bellamkonda Kishore; Dr. Reddy Urimindi, BOT; Sri Srini Vangimalla, BOT; Sri Partha Chakravarthy, BOT; Sri Rajasekhar Aila, BOT; Sri Shankar Setty, BOT; Sri Varad Rajan, BOT; and Nataraja Natyanjali dance director Neelima Gaddamanugu.

Bala Indurti also thanked the following TV channels and the management for providing live streaming and unconditional support.

Srinivasa Ganagoni, CEO TV Asia Telugu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sqOhX9lM0E

Sridhar Chillara, CEO manaTV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5GKAKBgVKQ

Sridhar Chillara, CEO manaTV International: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy9YMqmHFDk

Harish, TV5 North America correspondent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyZOELnXBWM

Simha, SakshiTV, North America correspondent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkle2d6S1IU

Thanks are due to the following Chennai team members Malathi Krishna, Sunita Doss, Theagarajan, Suresh Kumar for all the support to make this program successful.

Thanks are due to Srinivas Rani for sharing the daily updates in Facebook and Whatsapp.

19th DR E VAITHILINGAM MEMORIAL SCIENTIFIC SESSION

 In memory of the late Principal Dr. E. Vaithilingam, Elite School of Optometry (ESO) initiated a national scientific session in 2002 to encourage optometrists and optometry students from all over India to present their research work. This year, the 19th Dr EV Memorial Session was conducted as an online session between March 25th and 28th, 2021. The session focused on the theme “Celebrating Optometry. Optometrists, postgraduate optometry students and fellows of optometry from 47  institutions attended the session. The events were live streamed in YouTube and Facebook. The four days session had almost 2000 views in the YouTube alone.

The inaugural session started with welcome address by Dr. Anuradha, Principal, Elite school of Optometry. Dr T S Surendran, Vice- Chairman, MRF shared his fond memories about Dr EV. Dr. Girish S Rao, President, Medical Research Foundation gave a special address.  Dr Rashima, Scientific Committee shared the overview of the sessions. Dr Premnandhini, and Dr Shrikant Bharadwaj, LVPEI and alumni of ESO shared their thoughts about Dr E Vaithlingam. Scientific sessions started with a guest lecture on “National Education Policy and changes required in optometric education” which was delivered by Dr. Krishna Kumar, former Principal, ESO. The key note lecture was given by Ms. Jude Stern, Head of Knowledge Management, International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) & Ms. Jissa James Knowledge Manager, IAPB on “Role of Optometrists in delivering World Report on Vision”. The session also featured key optometric focus areas on “Allied Health care professions bill and readiness of optometric education and practice” by Ms Lakshmi Shinde, CEO, Optometry Council of India, “Role of Community optometrist in Glaucoma management” by Dr Subash Sukumar, Glaucoma consultant, Manchester eye hospital, UK and “Roles of Optometrists in managing concussions” by Dr Aparna Raghuram, Boston Children eye hospital and Asst. Professor, Harvard Medical College. An exclusive workshop on “Developing and Evaluating an International Virtual Grand Round” was conducted in collaboration with ESO-SN and Deakin University, Australia by Prof James Armitage, Ms Amanda Edgar, Dr N Anuradha, Dr Viswanathan and Mr Praveen Kumar. The research journey of ESO was compiled and presented as a video by the organizing team and the post graduate students

This year’s scientific session witnessed 17 oral presentations and 54 e posters that were selected from the 300 plus submissions. There were almost 700 comments received for the e-posters that were compiled and shared with the participants. Feedback for better scientific submissions were shared by the internal and seven external judges. This was immediately shared to the participants as a video. There were contests on 4 key areas of optometric practice, education, community rotations, clinical practice and research. There were around 150 submissions to the contests.  The details about the winners of the scientific session are shared below. The organizing and scientific committee of the EVM share their heartfelt gratitude to the participants and the well-wishers for their overwhelming support.

Great works start with a small beginning. This scientific journey of ESO as the Dr E V Memorial Scientific Sessions will remain and grow as a platform for scientific deliberations with the blessings of Mahaperiyava.

Details of winners of the 19th Dr E Vaithilingam Memorial Scientific Session:

Best Oral PresentationRegularMs Vijay Reena Durai, LVPEI
Best Oral PresentationStudentMs Sangeetha Nagarajan, ESO
Best PosterRegularMs Jacinth Priscilla J, LVPEI
Best PosterStudentMs Maanasi Mahalingam, ESO
Contest winners
EducationMs Evneet Kaur, ESO
CommunityMs Kalaiyarasi. ESO
ClinicianMs Akshaya Balakrishnan, ESO
ResearchMs Swetha, ESO

Newsweek announces Sankara Nethralaya one of the World’s Best Hospitals 2021

Newsweek announces Sankara Nethralaya one of the World’s Best Hospitals 2021. Such worldwide recognition would not be possible without our ophthalmologists, nursing staff, donors, and our patients who travel from all around India and the World because they believe in our quality of care. We reaffirm our promise to serve the community and work against avoidable blindness.

100 Days of Kuchipudi Dance performance by Nataraja Natyanjali

Nataraja Naatyanjali dance academy guru Smt. Neelima Gaddamanugu celebrated the 100 days of Kuchipudi dance performance on February 10, 2021. Sankara Nethralaya Atlanta team requested Neelima garu to present 100 days online streaming program to promote the cause during the pandemic. 90 students performed from academy performed for 100 days marathon event. We are deeply grateful to Neelima for dedicating herself to the noble cause.

How this event started? Bala Reddy Indurti asked Neelima Gaddamanugu, is it possible to perform 100 days online video performance with her Nataraja Natyanjali Atlanta students during the pandemic to promote the Sankara Nethralaya cause. Neelima accepted the challenge and made this possible with her 90 students. Atlanta team led by Bala Indurti, Moorthy Rekapalli are in touch with academy to make sure daily streaming events are performed seamlessly.

The students of Nataraja Natyanjali Dance Academy have enthusiastically taken part in this record-breaking fundraising effort for needy patients. Smt. Neelima Gaddamanugu has been teaching Kuchipudi from 2003 and her academy has been officially registered since 2008 in Atlanta, GA, USA.

Smt. Neelima Gaddamangu teaches the Vempati School of Kuchipudi classical dance form. Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam was an exponent and guru of the Kuchipudi dance form. He systemized Kuchipudi, giving it a more classical basis, and popularising the Kuchipudi dance form all over the world. The encouragement of the parents, relatives, friends, volunteers of those who participated was invaluable in making this charitable fundraiser a great success. Neelima’s guru Narayana Murthy Dandibhotla is a student of Padma Bhushan late Vempati Chinna Satyam.

Sankara Nethralaya President Dr. Girish Rao, and Sankara Nethralaya USA EC members President Emeritus S. V. Acharya, President Bala Reddy Indurti, Vice President Moorthy Rekapalli, Treasurer Banumathi Ramakrishnan, Jt Secretary Sowmi Narayan, Past President Leela Krishnamurthy and trustees Dr. Reddy Urimindi, Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Prasad Rani, Meher Lanka, Upendra Rachupally, Ramesh Chaparala and others – Neelima’s Guru Smt Mythili Prabhakar, Telugu Film Director V.N. Aditya, Kalavani Dance Academy Guru Padmaja Kelam and Maitri Atlanta founder Viju Chiluveru extended their appreciations to Nataraja Natyanjali guru Smt Neelima Gaddamanugu for completing successful 100 days dance program.

Sankara Nethralaya volunteer from New Jersey Prameela Gopu worked to compile all the messages and videos to present to the TV channels. She has also worked closely with Padma Shri Dr. Shobha Raju classical music concert in the past on the technical side. The live telecast of the finale of the 100 Days of Naatyanjali included a special video on Mobile Eye Surgical Unit and video clippings of Padma Bhushan Dr. S. S. Badrinath, Nani Phalkiwala (Jurist), Sri Amitabh Bachchan (Actor), Sri Saurav Ganguly (Cricketer), and Sri Madhavan (Actor).

Sankara Nethralaya team extended special thanks to TVAsia Telugu channel CEO and member of our Board of Trustees Srinivas Ganagoni, TV5 USA and manaTV CEO Sridhar Chillara, and SakshiTV North America correspondent Simha Hanumantu. 100 days event youtube links from major TV channels are below:

TV Asia Telugu: https://youtu.be/Nsm9sB_gSbY

ManaTV: https://youtu.be/OGCpXPSlx9o

TV5: https://youtu.be/olbxj2G1oV8

Event is also live telecasted in social media Facebook, YouTube and www.sankaranethralayausa.org website.
Thanks to Chennai team Theagarajan, Suresh Kumar and Sunita Doss for their continued support.

Sri Srinivasa Sankara Nethralaya Trust (SSSN), Tirupati – End of An Era

Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai is saddened to announce that we are no longer associated with Sri Srinivasa Sankara Nethralaya Trust (SSSN), Tirupati.  Sankara Nethralaya had operated under the Sri Srinivasa Sankara Nethralaya Trust (SSSN), Tirupati established by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) as a not-for-profit charitable trust since 2009 until 30th Jan 2021.

When Dr. S. S. Badrinath, our founder, had visited Tirupati to receive Darshan he happened to meet the then chairman of TTD at the sanctum sanctorum. This serendipitous meeting gave Sankara Nethralaya the opportunity to serve a divine purpose by providing free eye healthcare at the TTD central hospital.  TTD provided their premises, the SSSN Trust funded the infrastructure necessary for a quality eye care facility, and Sankara Nethralaya’s ophthalmologists, optometrists, anesthetist and non-medical staff served the patients.

During our decade of compassionate service, Sankara Nethralaya examined more than 2 lakh patients, performed Cataract surgery for nearly 21,000 patients and 42,000 patients underwent special investigations / procedures. 

At SSSN, our experienced ophthalmologists provided comprehensive Ophthalmic outpatient services along with inpatient services such as cataract surgeries, special diagnostic / therapeutic treatment such as Fundus Fluorescein Angiography (FFA); Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT); Laser for Posterior segment diseases; and YAG laser, injections, etc. as ophthalmic centre was equipped with two state-of-the-art operation theatres with the latest microscopes, phaco-emulsification systems & autoclaves.  Patients were accommodated in separate wards for male and female patients and received the best care.

Through the SSSN Trust, Sankara Nethralaya carried on the practice of providing free meals and stay at the hospital for patients in need.  This helped many poor patients to seek quality eye healthcare even though they did not have money for food or for a stay in hospital.

Sankara Nethralaya also conducted outreach programs for the people staying in and around Tirupati included rural eye screening camps, screening school children for eye disorders, and Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) camps.  These screening camps took comprehensive eye healthcare to the doorsteps of those who were unable to travel.  The MESU enabled at least 900 surgeries to be performed throughout the rural and tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh with TTD’s support.

Sankara Nethralaya provided our expertise in Hospital Management System (HMS) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system free of cost and SSSN was benefitted enormously as inpatient and outpatient processes were quicker due to our meticulous record-keeping.

Due to changes in TTD’S policies, the Medical committee proposed merging all Trusts under the “PRANADHANAM Trust”.  Accordingly, Sri Srinivasa Sankara Nethralaya Trust is being dissolved and Sankara Nethralaya has accepted the decision of the board.  We are humbly thankful to the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams Board, Executive Officer, Joint Executive Officers, Chief Medical Officer, Special Medical Officer, and all the employees of TTD for their untiring support all through the years.

Sankara Nethralaya is immensely indebted to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams for giving us the opportunity to serve the pilgrims, the employees of TTD and their families, the people of Tirupati and the regions nearby.

We bid farewell with a sense of profound loss to an era of serving humanity under the will of Lord Venkateshwara.  We thank the TTD and people of Tirupati for the love and support our hospital received while serving the community, and enabling us to provide quality ophthalmic healthcare with the divine blessings of Lord Venkateshwara.  We await the day when we will be called on to serve at the Lotus Feet of Lord Venkateshwara again.

27th Aradhana of Sri Maha Periyava and Awards Presentation – 2021

On 12th January 2021, after almost a year, the 27th Aradhana of Sri Maha Periyava was held at 5:00 pm in Sankara Nethralaya’s Sri. V. D. Swami Auditorium. Ms. Alamelu compered the evening’s events, which was a refreshing beginning to the New Year, as the pandemic restrictions prevented social gatherings in 2020.

The event was opened with the auspicious Veda Gosham, followed by the Welcome Address and a short introduction to Sankara Nethralaya and Sri Maha Periyava by Ms. Anuradha, Principal, Elite School of Optometry. Following this, Archanai and Aarti to Sri Maha Periyava were performed. Mr. Raghunathan, a retired government employee gifted a painting he had rendered of Sri Maha Periyava to Sankara Nethralaya, which was received by Dr. T. S. Surendaran. The lifelike painting will be hung in Vision Enhancement Clinic, Shenoy Nagar.

Ms, Alamelu then called on Dr. A. R. Anand, Vidyasagar Institute of Biomedical Technology and Science (VIBS) In- Charge to present the Ph. D awardees for the year 2020. VIBS was established in October 2006 with a generous donation by Late Padmashri Iravatham Mahadevan, in memory of his elder son, the late Vidyasagar.

The Ph. D program, one of the most important in the VIBS portfolio, is affiliated to four national universities i.e.  SASTRA University, Thanjavur; the Tamilnadu Dr. M. G. R. Medical University, Chennai; Anna University, Chennai; and Alagappa University, Karaikudi. The degrees were presented by Mr. G. Ramachandran, Honorary Secretary, Medical Research Foundation.

Over the past 20 years, 67 Ph.Ds. from SN are established all around India and the world too! Since July 2019 and June 2020, SN produced 6 Ph. D awardees, under SASTRA University, Thanjavur. Currently, 18 students are studying in the Ph. D. Programme; 2 have submitted their final Ph. D. thesis; one is in the process of submission, and 15 students are undergoing Ph. Ds.

Mr. Ravikanth Danda, received the “Doctor of Philosophy” for his Ph.D. thesis entitled “Identification of Novel therapeutic target molecules in Retinoblastoma.”  He completed his Ph. D on 12th December 2019.  He is presently a CSIR Research Associate at CCMB, Hyderabad.  His supervisor, Dr. S. Krishnakumar, Professor and Head of L & T Ocular Pathology department, accompanied him to the stage.

Mr. Anand Babu completed his Ph.D. thesis entitled “Role of paraoxonase in oxidized LDL – Mediated Pathogenesis of age related molecular degeneration (AMD): in vivo studies in AMD patients and in vitro studies in human retinal pigment epithelial cells” on 17th February 2020. He is currently a research scientist at the Dr. MGR Educational and Research Institute, Chennai. His supervisor was Dr. N. Angayarkanni, Professor and Head of R. S. Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & cell biology, Supervisor.

Mr. Ravikanth Danda and Mr. Anand Babu gave their valedictorian speeches and thanked everyone who inspired them including their Ph. D. supervisors, and Sankara Nethralaya.

Mr. Amit Chatterjee’s Ph. D was received on his behalf by his guide, Dr. J. Narayanan, Associate Professor of Nanobiotechnology department. Mr. Amit’s thesis “Understanding the mechanism of cell penetrating peptide using kerataconus epithelium as clinical model” was completed on 28th September 2020.

Three awardees were awarded their Ph. Ds in absentia- Dr. S.Muthukumaran completed his Ph. D. on 20th July 2020 under SASTRA deemed-to-be University, Thanjavur. He is presently at the clinical bioinformatics division, Anderson Diagnostics, Chennai. His guide is Dr. V. Umashankar, Faculty of Centre for Bioinformatics.

Dr. Bhavna S. Rao completed her Ph. D on 3rd August 2020 Under SASTRA deemed-to-be University, Thanjavur. She is a freelance scientific language editor at TNQ, Chennai. Her guide is Dr. N. Soumittra, Faculty of SN ONGC Department of Genetics & Molecular Biology.

Dr. P. Karthikka completed her Ph. D on 5rd August 2020 under SASTRA deemed-to-be University, Thanjavur. Her guide is Dr. C. Subbulakshmi, Faculty of R.S.Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & cell biology.

Those who were unable to be present at the ceremony joined virtual and shared their memorable experiences and joy of working and studying at an exceptional institution like Sankara Nethralaya.

The next part of the ceremony was the institutional awards including the certificates or medals, and cash prizes. Dr. Smita Praveen, Director – Academics, MRF gave a short introduction of the significance of the institutional awards and called on Mr. G. Ramachandran, Hon. Secy., and Dr. T. S. Surendran, Vice Chairman, MRF to present the awards.

Mr. G. Ramachandran presented Dr. Sudharshan S. with the Smt Sreerangamma N Narayana and Endowment Award for best scientist working on infectious diseases, along with a cash prize.

The Smt.Radhamani N. Anantha Endowment Award for best scientist working on infectious diseases, accompanied by a cash prize went to Dr. Mamta Agarwal.

Dr. T. S. S presented the following awards:

Swarnalata Punshi Award for Best Research Fellow went to Dr. Sneha Giridhar, along with a cash prize.

The Swarnalata Punshi prize Award for Best Research Worker (medal, certificate, and cash prize) to Ms. Ramya. R.

The Ruby Banik Memorial Award for Best Research in Clinical Sciences in Ophthalmology Award and cash prize was received by Ms. Najiya. S. K.

The Prof. S. Krishnamoorthy Rao Memorial Award for Best Outgoing PhD went to Dr. Ravikanth Danda, along with a gold medal + certificate.

The Dr. S. Ramakrishnan Endowment for Best Outgoing Post-Graduate of Diploma in Ophthalmology was received by Dr. Ramya G.

Dr. Merin Jacob received the Sri. K. Vasanth Madhavan Memorial Award instituted by Mrs K Saraswathi for Best Outgoing Post Graduate student of Diplomate of National board of Examinations.

Dr. Mythri K Rao received the Dr. Kantimathynathan Endowment Medal instituted by Dr. Jagan Nathan for Best Post Graduate DNB candidate in Neuro Ophthalmology.

Dr. Pallavi Goel and Dr. Mehta Parth Kirit were presented with the Ms. DivyaChaturvedi Endowment Award for Best Outgoing Diploma in Ophthalmology student in Uvea.

A Certificate of Merit – Chief Resident was presented to Dr. Mythri K Rao by Dr. T. S. S. The second recipient was Dr. Damisetti Anjali Gopalakrishna.

The Jayaben Chamanlal Shah Endowment award for Best Outgoing Sub Specialty Fellow was presented to Dr. Aanchal Agarwal virtually. She thanked everyone and said the guidance of her instructors and teachers were vital to showing her and fellow students the way, helping them reach their goals.

Dr. Smriti Jain too received her awards virtually. She received both the Dr. V T Doshi Memorial award for Best outgoing Vitreo Retinal Fellow – Award and the Indian Society for Prevention of Blindness Endowment Award for Best Lady Fellow in Vitreo Retinal Sub-specialty. She thanked Dr. AVS ma’am and the teaching staff at JCOC and the sub-speciality teachers who guided her throughout her time at SN.

At the close of the ceremony, everyone present paid their respects and offered flowers to Sri Maha Periyava.

Blessed Visit of 46th Azhagiyasingar of Ahobila Mutt

His Holiness, Srimathe Srivan Satakopa Sri Ranganatha Yateendra Mahadesikan, the 46th Azhagiyasingar of Ahobila Mutt visited Sankara Nethralaya’s Dr. V.G. Appukutty campus on 3rd January 2021.  He was shown around the premises comprising the C. U. Shah Sankara Nethralaya, The SN Academy, Elite School of Optometry, and Jaslok Community Ophthalmic Centre.  Dr. Girish Rao, President, and Dr. Rajesh accompanied the Swamigal on his tour.

The event started with an invocation by Mrs. Vidya Thirumalai, one of Sankara Nethralaya’s well-wishers.  Colonel Raghavan, Advisor – Projects, welcomed His Holiness on behalf of Dr. S. S. Badrinath and Dr. (Mrs.) Vasanthi Badrinath, and Sankara Nethralaya family members.  Col. Raghavan also wished everyone present a Happy New Year.  Dr. T. S. Surendaran and Dr. Girish Rao, President, honoured His Holiness with ceremonial tributes.

His Holiness blessed the gathering and recollected that Dr. S. S. B performed a cataract surgery on his spiritual guru Sri Maha Periyava Sri Chandrasekerendra Saraswathi Swamigal. Dr. S. S. B’s name spread gaining renown due to this. He recalled Sri Maha Periyava’s blessing that as long as the sun and moon shone, Sankara Nethralaya would bloom and serve humanity.  His Holiness also recounted Jayendra Sarswathi Swamigal’s call to Dr. S.S.B to found an institution in the service of India’s poor.  He extolled the efforts and sacrifices of those who served the cause of bringing vision to the poor and needy.  Service is a boon to society and we should encourage the practice amongst ourselves.  His Holiness appreciated and blessed Dr. Girish Rao in continuing our founder’s mission to serve society.  His Holiness blessed the institution, employees, and the students to take the vision forward for many decades.

Dr. Rajesh offered the vote of thanks and expressed his gratitude to His Holiness who stayed to bless everyone present individually.

Elite School of Optometry World sight day 2020

World sight day is the most important advocacy day in the eye health calendar and it’s held annually on second Thursday of October. This year World sight day is on 8th October 2020. Sankara Nethralaya along with Elite School of Optometry (ESO) always contributes to the society and as a part of this year’s world sight day and promoting the theme -“Hope in Sight” students of ESO have organized several activities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, implementing the community activities is found difficult and it involves many safety precautions. Keeping in mind the current situation and in order to promote the eye care awareness, various activities are planned and the details are given below.

Activity 1

“Hope is Sight- Displaying the solidarity of the professionals”

A placard displaying the theme ‘Hope in sight’ was made and a video collage of optometrists and optometry students holding it was made displaying the solidarity of the professionals.

Activity 2

E-posters-awareness through Social Media

Innovative E-Posters creating awareness on compelling eye health safety and consequential eye donation were designed. The posters surfaced the doubts of many common people on eye donation, myopia and eye care and digital eye strain and suitable exercises. We also received accolades for the attractive and informative posters from many optometrists in various institutions. These posters were shared in social media platforms.

Activity 3

Online awareness sessions with young minds

Eye care awareness session were conducted for the students of Omega international school, Gerugambakkam. The session was organized by the school and Dr. Anuradha ESO principal delivered key points on the burden of refractive error, importance of spectacles, common ocular problems, binocular vision problems and symptoms, color vision anomalies and she also shared the common symptoms of digital eye strain which is a raising problem especially in COVID 19 situation. 55 students from 8th and 9th grade along with staff members attended the session and doubts from the students were clarified at the end.

Activity 4

Promoting eye care through stake holders -Awareness and Vision ambassador training

Sukriti social foundation is a Non –governmental organization (NGO) which works for social welfare development especially for government school students and teachers. As a part of world sight day initiative, Dr. Anuradha, ESO principal promoted awareness on burden of visual impairment and importance of compliance to spectacles among school students through online session. Almost 75 people attended the session including government teachers, Sukriti staff members and volunteers. Vision ambassador training on basic vision screening with ESO’s PVS chart (Pocket Vision screener) was also taught to them and formats for documenting the vision, finding out obvious eye problems were also shared.

Click here to view World Sight Day 2020 – ESO