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Sankara Nethralaya Marks 30th Sri Maha Periyava Aaradhana on January 9, 2024

Sankara Nethralaya recently celebrated the 30th Sri Maha Periyava Aaradhana on January 9, 2024. The event, held at the Shri VD Swami Auditorium on Sankara Nethralaya’s main campus, was graced by Dr. Sudha Seshayyan as the chief guest. Dr. Seshayyan, Director of Sastra University, Chennai, and former Vice Chancellor of The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, delivered a religious speech, motivating attendees.

The occasion held special significance as it marked Sankara Nethralaya’s first event for Maha Periyava following the demise of our Chief, Dr. SS Badrinath, renowned for his religious reverence towards His Holiness Maha Periyava. His devotion, values, and principles continue to shape the ethos of Sankara Nethralaya.

Sankara Nethralaya USA’s “Music for Charity – Margazhi Concert”

In a blend of music and philanthropy, Mr. Sowmiya Narayanan, representing Sankara Nethralaya USA, orchestrated the “Music for Charity – Margazhi Concert” at Sankara Nethralaya’s Shri VD Swami Auditorium on December 24. The day-long concert saw the performances of emerging musicians, showcasing their talents in support of a noble cause.

The event was also graced by the presence of the legendary violinist Sangita Kalanidhi Padma Shri A Kanyakumari and Mridangam Vidhwan Dr. Patri Satish Kumar whose performances left an indelible impression on the audience.

Swami Mukunananda on Professional Fulfilment

The spiritual leader, bestselling author, Vedic scholar, and authority on mind management – Swami Mukundanandaji, gave a talk on Professional Fulfilment on 6th December 2022 at the Sri V. D. Swami Auditorium in the main campus.  Dr. R. R. Sudhir, Senior Consultant, Department of Cornea Services had the honour of introducing Swami Mukunanandaji to the eager audience.

Swamji had completed his B. Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi (IIT-D), and MBA in Indian Institute of Management – Kolkata. He had a successful career, which he renounced in his search for the divine truth. Dr. T. S. Surendran felicitated Swamiji with a silk shawl; Swamiji then opened his talk with an invocation prayer song. Swamiji stated he was privileged to visit and host a talk at this hallowed institution, which he had heard so much about. He conveyed his respects to the Sankara Nethralaya family.

Swami Mukunanda spoke on the topic of ‘Professional Fulfilment.’ He pointed out that a fulfilling career is as important as a life partner as we spend more time at work than with our spouses. He spoke of the happiness that comes when we find a purpose in our lives and we can align activities to that purpose. Swamji enlightened the gathering to remind oneself about the importance of the work is the key to remaining inspired and closed his talk.

Dr. R. R. Sudhir, Senior Consultant, Department of Cornea Services, and Head of EMR Development and Implementation, for this unique opportunity to listen to the enlightening thoughts of Swami Mukunanada

Force Motors Donates Vehicle to Sankara Nethralaya

On 24th August 2022, a mini bus was formally handed over to Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, by a benevolent Donor – Sri Abhay Firodia, Chairman of Force Motors Ltd in a simple ceremony.  This vehicle will be used to convey community care patients back and forth from the community care facilities to the doorsteps of the patients.

Sri Abhay Firodia donated the vehicle in memory of his father, Late Sri Navalmal Firodia, founder of Force Motors.  He was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Abhay Firodia, and son, Sri Prasan Firodia, Managing Director, Force Motors Ltd.  The vehicle was handed over to Sankara Nethralaya in the presence of Dr. T. S. Surendran, Vice Chairman and Director of Paediatric Ophthalmology, Dr. Prema Padmanabhan, Distinguished Senior Consultant, Department of Cornea Services, and senior management.

Dr. T. S. Surendran felicitated Sri Abhay with a traditional South Indian silk shawl, while Dr. Prema Padmanabhan honoured Smt. Abhay with one as well.

Sankara Nethralaya thanks Sri Abhay Firodia and family for their generous gesture in helping community care patients to access quality eye care.

Sankara Nethralaya and Lion’s Club of Central Madras conduct State Level Chess Tournament for the Visually Impaired

The Vision Enhancement Clinic (VEC) of Sankara Nethralaya and Lions Club of Central Madras organised the 2nd State Level Chess Tournament with technical support from the Tamil Nadu Braille Chess Association (TNBCA) for the visually impaired at Sankara Nethralaya, Nungambakkam, Chennai on 6thAugust 2022, from 8.30am onwards. The State level Chess Tournament for the visually impaired commemorated the 44thChess Olympiad and the 52nd Charter Nite Celebrations of Lions Club of Central Madras. Around 50 participants took part from all over Tamil Nadu.  It is notable that in the women’s category there were about nine participants at the state-level.

Lion Mohammed Naveen, District Governor DIST.324M inaugurated the camp by lighting the Kuthuvillakku and playing the first move with young chess player Mohammed Jamir. Lion Thirumurugan S. President of the Club, Lion.S.Balasundaram, Chairman Charter Nite Committee and many members of the Club, and Dr Rashima, HOD – VEC started the event.

Mr Vignesh General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Braille Chess Association (TNBC) provided the technical support along with his team members. He is an international FIDE rated chess player, Arbiter, and Chess coach.  He has arbitrated Chess tournaments at the international levels.

The chess tournament had four rounds under three categories such as under 17 years – Student, Women’s and Open. The atmosphere at the venue tournament was enthusiastic and many participants had travelled overnight to Chennai just for this tournament from the remote districts of Tamil Nadu. The event was sponsored by Mr.Dilip, and Mrs.Viji Dilip family.

The one-day tournament ended with the Prize Distribution Ceremony, held at 4:30 p.m. at Sankara Nethralaya. The occasion was graced by the chief guest Dr.J. Radhakrishnan, IAS, Principal Secretary for Co-operation, Food and Consumer Protection Department and the guest of honor Mr.B.Vijayakumar (visually impaired), Advocate. Dignitaries Dr Girish Shiva Rao (President – Sankara Nethralaya), Mr Dilip, Lion Mr Thirumurugan,  Lion Balasundaram, Lion Rangarajan K, Lion.Dr.N.Muthukumaran and a large number of  lions graced the occasion.

Ms Dhanalakshmi (VEC) welcomed the gathering, Lion Thirumurugan President gave the opening speech thanking Sankara Nethralaya and TNBCA for their generous support. Dr Rashima gave a brief about the event and shared the glimpses of the event to the audience.

Dr. Radhakrishnan was appreciative of this tournament and the participants. Also he said, that the participants may not have Vision in their Eyes, but, definitely they have Vision in their Hearts. Hence they prove their Mettle while they read or play. The Principal Secretary also congratulated the Organizers for holding the event at the same time as the 44th Chess Olympiad 2022. He also noted that Braille Chess needs to be promoted more.

Mr Vijayakumar, Advocate spoke on the history of the Chess Tournaments and expressed a desire for Chess Tournaments to be conducted between Persons with Good Vision and the Visually Impaired.

One of the international rated player Mr Jayaprakash R shared his views about the event. He said that the event was very well conducted professionally and wished this could happen periodically for encouraging the young chess players.

Dr. J Radhakrishnan awarded the cash prizes and certificates to the winners and participation Certificates to all. Many of the participants were FIDE rated international chess players, and it was a great experience to watch these players in action. Cash prizes were given to first 10 out of 30 players in the open category , first 6 out of 15 players in the under 17 category and first 5 out of 9 players in the women’s category.

Sankara Nethralaya thanks Lion’s Club of Central Madras for making this event a grand success and Lion R.Viswanathan and Lion.S. Balasundaram for coordinating this tournament at such short notice. Dr. Rashima A., HOD, Vision Enhancement Clinic and the professionals of the VEC team were pivotal to the success of the tournament.

Sankara Nethralaya USA virtual concert raised $520,000 to restore vision to 8,000 patients

Inspired by a speech by Pontiff of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt he attended in 1974, Dr. S S Badrinath founded Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai in 1978 with the sole objective of providing world class eye care, free to the poor and affordable price to others. Sankara Nethralaya (SN) is a not-for-profit charity organization providing ophthalmic (eye) care throughout India. For the last four decades, SN has treated millions of patients. SN also holds eye camps, school screenings and eye bank. One of the unique services is Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU), only one of its kind approved by Government of India. These are operation theatres on wheels. MESU consists of two buses serving as operation theatre, go out remote villages, perform cataract surgeries on 150 to 200 patients over a two-week period and return to main campus after post-operative care.

Sankara Nethralaya USA (SN USA), our fund-raising arm in US was established in 1988 with the sole objective of raising funds for Nethralaya to provide free services to indigent patients. SN USA is managed by thirty-five honorary trustees spread across fourteen chapters in US and has been raising over a million dollars during the past several years.

Every year, Sankara Nethralaya USA organizes Indian classical dance and music programs in various cities to raise awareness and funds. Because of the pandemic, this year all programs were conducted through online virtual streaming.

Renowned playback singer and music director, Parthu Nemani along with his music team presented virtual semi classical devotional music program on December 19th, 2021, and it was telecast by the following major channels:

Mana TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUitJfqJTBs

TVAsia Telugu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_2RD-lakO4

Sakshi TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWWlw_FSQS4

TV5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-Yv2I5PXXU

GNN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwQBDuJH58E

Great response to the program towards the Sankara Nethralaya USA year-end campaign raised USD $520,000 to restore vision to 8,000 indigent blind patients in India. Kudos to the fundraising team, Philanthropists, and community across the USA for unconditional support.

President Bala Reddy Indurti, President Emeritus S V Acharya, Vice President Moorthy Rekapalli planned, coordinated, and executed the Sankara Nethralaya USA year end campaign with grand success.

Dr. Girish Rao, President of Sankara Nethralaya made passionate appeal to the community for the campaign and explained Sankara Nethralaya service activities. During the program the MESU (Mobile Eye Surgical Unit) operations and the following brand ambassadors’ messages were shown: Former President and Bharat Ratna awardee Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Bharat Ranta Smt M.S. Subbalakshmi, Padma Vihushan Nani Phalkiwala, Padma Vibhushan Ratan Tata, Padma Vibhushan Amitabh Bachchan, Padma Vibhushan Rajnikanth, Padma Shri Sourav Ganguly, DRDO Chairman Dr. Satheesh Reddy, Tollywood actor Madhavan. Sankara Nethralaya Team is very thankful to these ambassadors.

Special thanks to Tollywood writer, actor, and director Tanikella Bharani for his passionate appeal to the campaign.

Thanks to Singer/Music Director Parthu Nemani and his team of Musicians: Prakash (Keyboards), Srinivas (Flute), Suresh Prasad (Tabala), and Srinivasa Reddy (Rhythms). Harmony: Students of Keerrhana Academy (Bhuvana Swaraja Challa, Vaishnavi Kovvuri, Akhil Chandra, Saketh Kommajosyula). Sai Deekshit Vangara (Camera & Lights), Sai Manohar Dubbaka (Recorded & mixed), Srikanth Pudari (Editing), Nagesh (Assistant), Krishna Priya Pothukuchi (Project Supervision), Keerthana Recording Studios (Sound), String Wings (Video Floor)

Thanks are due to Dr. Reddy Urimindi for promoting ‘nayanam pradhaanam’ program through Tori for 100 successful weekends. Thanks are due to Shyam Appali and Prameela Gopu for video editing and MESU video for TV channels. Thanks are due to all Board of Trustees, Volunteers, Philanthropists, and supporters who are working selflessly to restore vision for indigent patients.

Thanks are due to Dr. Raj Modi and Dr. Bellamkonda Kishore for spreading the news in AAPI event and publishing the news in JAAPI magazine.

Thanks are due to Moorthy Rekapalli for MESU (Mobile Eye Surgical Unit) project and the following ADOPT-A-Village donors Dr. Sanjeeva Reddy (New Orleans LA), Leela Krishnamoorthy (Houston TX), Anand Dasari (Dallas TX), Srini Vangimalla (Atlanta GA), Rajasekhar Aila (Detroit MI), Srinivas Ganagoni (New Jersey NJ), Suresh Vemulamada (Atlanta GA).

Thanks are due to Jagannath Vedula, and Chennai staff Theagarajan, Suresh Kumar, Sunitha Doss, Kavitha, and Dheenadayalan.

Fundraising team members: Bala Reddy Indurti, SV Acharya, Moorthy Rekapalli, Leela Krishnamoorthy, Dr. Raj Modi, Srini Vangimalla, Upendra Rachupally, Shankar Setty, Shyam Appali, Prasad Rani, Meher Lanka, Narayan Indurthi, Ramesh Chaparala, Sowmi Narayan, Neelima Gaddamanugu, and Banu Ramkrishnan.

As you already know during our mid-year campaign, we conducted Flute Nagaraju Talluri program and received $150,000 donation from Dr. Govinda Visvesvara to name a floor in Chennai Hospital. This is not included in year-end campaign

Thanks are due to media partners TVAsia (Srinivas Ganagoni) manaTV, TV5 (Sridhar Chillara, Ragini, and Harishi), Sakshi TV (Simhabaludu), GNN (Rammohan Reddy and Ravi Reddy Maraka) for promoting Sankara Nethralaya virtual streaming concert on Dec 19th at different timings to give the flexibility to all viewers in different time zones.

Sankara Nethralaya professionals were awarded with numerous awards for their outstanding accomplishments. Our founder Dr. S S Badrinath was given the prestigious awards of Living Legend and Padma Bhushan for his outstanding public service. Newsweek named Sankara Nethralaya as one of the four Best Ophthalmic institutions and one of the Best one hundred hospitals in the World. SN USA, our fund-raising arm in US was given the given the highest rating of four stars by prestigious rating organization Charity Navigator.

Please extend your support for this noble cause of restoring the vision of indigent patients by generously contributing at https://www.sankaranethralayausa.org/

To read the article on Great Andhra.com, please click here:- https://www.greatandhra.com/articles/special-articles/sankara-nethralaya-usa-virtual-concert-raised-520000-118013

Sankara Nethralaya Congratulates Dr. Sheila John on her Doctoral Degree

Sankara Nethralaya family congratulates Dr. Sheila John on receiving her doctoral degree from the Faculty of Surgery and Surgical Specialties, The Tamilnadu Dr. M. G. R. Medical University on 20th December 2021.  She successfully defended her doctoral thesis titled “To Compare the Accuracy of Computer-aided Grading for Presence or Absence of Diabetic Retinopathy in Type 2 Diabetes Patients in a Telescreening Program.”  Her aim was designed to provide inputs on the suitability of a computer-assisted DR screening solution on Type 2 diabetes patients, for use in a larger prospective study.

Dr. Sheila John was awarded her Ph.D during the convocation attended by Thiru M. K. Stalin, honourable Chief Minister of Tamilnadu and Shri R. N. Ravi, honourable 15th Governor of Tamil Nadu.

Mobile teleophthalmology camps were conducted in Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts, Tamil Nadu, India, from January 2015 to May 2017 and around 472 diabetic patients underwent teleconsultations at Sankara Nethralaya, Nungambakkam (main campus).  Around 1200 retinal photographs from Type 2 diabetes patients at diabetic clinics in Chennai were also imaged through tele-screening for the data analysis.

SN congratulates Dr. Deepmala Mazumdar for successful completion of her doctoral degree

The entire family of SN congratulates Dr. Deepmala Mazumdar for successfully completing her doctoral degree by carrying out scientific research with Medical Research Foundation, Chennai, India in collaboration with Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Her Ph.D. research is titled the ‘Visual Field responsiveness in glaucoma: An eye-tracking approach’ and was carried out under the guidance of Dr. Ronnie George (Director, Glaucoma Services), Prof Hans van der Steen, and Dr. Johan Pel (Dept. of Neuroscience, Erasmus MC). Her thesis proposed Eye Movement Perimetry as a potential tool for identifying visual field defects based on reflexive eye movement responses and recommended this technique as an additional/alternative technique of perimetry especially in those patients who face difficulties in reliably performing the conventional method.

The doctoral ceremony was a hybrid one (a combination of real and virtual events) due to COVID-related regulations and restrictions. The ceremony included a rector (moderator), three of her Ph.D. promoters, six honorable opponents from various subspecialties under the wing of vision science, and one paranymph (ceremonial assistant).

The public audience had a full video of the event series via youtube streaming. After the defense presentation and viva, the candidate was officially declared as a ‘Doctor’ and was awarded a university certificate and the prestigious Erasmus MC badge. The ceremony came to a conclusion with the commendation speech by Dr. Johan Pel.

Sankara Nethralaya serves the unorganized sector through Occupational Optometry

Sankara Nethralaya’s Department of Occupational Optometry Services conducted a focused continuous comprehensive services for the laborers in the unorganized sector.  Sunday camps also were held monthly once between July to November 2021 at the main hospital, with the invaluable support of Computer Ages Management Services (CAMS) as a part of their CSR activity.

This camp included a Visual Task Analysis Based eye examination for sculptors, hair dressers, fishermen, agricultural workers, and toy-making artisans crossing the borders of Tamil Nadu.  Around 896 workers benefited by these camps and around 686 individuals were dispensed with new glasses including safety eye wear & about 162 were referred for further specialty cross consultations.  Cataract surgery for about 28 patients were funded by CAMS and followed-up by OOS.

We thank all our supporters such as CAMS for collaborating in the fight  against preventable blindness and bringing quality eye care to the deserving patients of our nation.

Sankara Nethralaya’s Optometrists Achieve Fellowship during the American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting in Boston, MA

Dr Viswanathan Sivaraman, Ms. Aparna G, Ms. Azfira Hussain, Ms. Ayisha Atiya and Mr. Soumen Sadhu became Fellows of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) during Academy 2021 Boston, November 3-6, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. They joined a near record-breaking number of 299 new Fellows welcomed into the Academy this year.

Professionals who become Fellows of the Academy must complete a rigorous candidacy process. Candidates submit extensive written work and must also pass an oral examination. A panel of leading optometrists and vision scientists must approve both the written work and oral examination. Approximately ten percent of practicing optometrists are Fellows of the Academy. Fellows of the American Academy of Optometry constantly strive for the highest professional standards.

The American Academy of Optometry annual meetings are recognized as presenting the latest in research and information on patient and vision care.Highlights of the Academy annual meeting included more than 300 hours of continuing education (CE) courses, scientific presentations and an exhibit hall with more than 100 companies exhibiting. More than 6,500 optometrists, vision care professionals, vision scientists and optometry students from around the world attended this prestigious meeting.

About the American Academy of Optometry

The American Academy of Optometry (Academy) enhances excellence in optometric practice by fostering research and disseminating knowledge in vision science through its journal, Optometry and Vision Science, and the continuing education presented at its annual meeting. Fellows of the Academy are committed to the premise that learning is a lifelong obligation of a professional, as is the commitment to expand the profession’s knowledge base through ongoing fellowship and exchange.

The next annual meeting of the Academy will be held October 26-29, 2022in San Diego, California. For more information, visit the website: http://www.aaopt.org