Proud moment to share from the Sankara Nethralaya’s Occupational Optometry Services

Dr RashimaAsokan, Assistant Professor – ESO and Optometrist was awarded the Golden Jubilee medal during the 67th state Indian Association of Occupational Health (IAOH), Tamilnadu chapter. The State IAOH has selected the scientific paper titled “Impact of vision correction on the quality of life and productivity among automobile mechanics” presented by Dr Rashima at the National level IAOH conference (OCCUCON2018) held at Pune, 2018. She was awarded the Best paper presented from Tamilnadu.

This research was a part of Vision Correction Impact Study done by the department of Occupational Optometry Services under the able guidance of Dr PP Santanam and Dr R Krishnakumar. The study assessed the impact of vision correction in different occupations among the small-scale industries. The team of occupational optometry services (Dr R Krishnakumar, Dr Rashima, Ms RaajaMaheswari, Ms Dhanalakshmi and Ms Janani) were appreciated by the doctors and the occupational health experts who attended the meeting.

It has given the team an inspiritment to continue the occupational optometry services across all the sectors.

Sankara Nethralaya’s head of Binocular Vision becomes first Indian to be conferred with a ‘Diplomate’ in her niche field by the AAO.

AAO

In a development that placed Sankara Nethralaya’s head of Binocular Vision and her institution right at the top slot, the American Academy of Optometry(AAO) the world leader in the field conferred its coveted ‘Diplomate’ in Binocular Vision, Perception and Pediatrics on Dr Rizwana, Assistant Professsor, Elite School of Optometry.The high academic recognition comes as yet another major milestone covered and a bright jewel in the crown for a passionate researcher, student,teacher and irrepressible explorer who has such diverse credits as, being chosen by the Department of Education & Training, Australia High Commission, as ‘Australia Award- Endeavour Ambassador’ to spearhead collaborative research and education between the two nations, a Doctorate by the BITS Pilani for her exhaustive paper on ‘Binocular vision care for children’, the clinician who played a pivotal and pioneering role in the creation of TRYe (Train your eye) a first of its kind vision therapy software for amblyopia and the establishment of a ‘Special Children’s clinic’ for children who need special attention and functional assessment, at the Sankara Nethralaya main campus.

With Dr. John Tassinari (chair of the BVPPO section), and Dr. Ronald Gall (One of the examiners)

It was the glorious culmination of an eventful three year journey for Ms Rizwana who enrolled into the Diplomate process at the AAO in 2015, as she was declared a ‘Diplomate in Binocular Vision, Perception, Pediatrics and Optometry’(BVPPO) at San Antonio, on the 8th of November 2018.It is noteworthy to mention here that she was guided by the legendary Dr Mitchell Scheiman, Dean of the Salisbury University. The award highlights the recipient and her institution’s pioneering role in the fields of recognition in the certification and promises to take awareness creation and collaborative learning in these fields to the next level!

The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its hearty congratulations and puts its hands together for a standing ovation to its dynamic member!

It was a touching moment for the SN family and the winner when Professor Dr B.R.Natarajan an alumnus of BITS Pilani shared her journey and achievements in a passionate one page write-up.

We take great pleasure in sharing the same below
Dr BR Natarajan’s write-up

It was the glorious culmination of an eventfulthree year journey for Ms Rizwana who enrolled into the Diplomateprocess at the AAO in 2015,as she was declared a ‘Diplomate in Binocular Vision,Perception,Pediatrics and Optometry’(BVPPO) at San Antonio, on the 8th of November 2018.It is noteworthy to mention here that she was guided by the legendary Dr Mitchell Scheiman, Dean of the Salisbury University. The award highlights the recipient and her institution’s pioneering role in the fields of recognition in the certification and promises to take awarenesscreation and collaborative learning in these fields to the next level!

Jubilation and Joy mark the ‘D’ Day at an institution committed passionately to knowledge dissemination and character building

The 30th Graduation Day of the Elite School of Optometry was celebrated with pomp and pageantry at the VD Swami auditorium to a packed hall of employees and proud parents. The presence of former Chairman of the Medical Research Foundation Shri V.Vaidyanathan, Dr TS Surendran, Vice-Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya, Dr PP Santanam, First Principal of the ESO and one of its greatest well wishers and generous benefactors, Dr Girish Rao and Dr Pramod Bhende, Medical Directors, MRF, Dr Krishna Kumar, Principal ESO, Dr Viswanathan, DGM Optical Services, Dr Anuradha and Dr Rajeswari Mahadevan, faculty members at the ESO, all of them in their ceremonial gown added color to the event, receiving their certificates from the senior members and their role models and listening to their spirited talk made it a memorable graduation ceremony to the students. Speaking on the ocassion Dr Anuradha, Assistant Professor, ESO gave a lively account of her doctoral thesis submission, highlighting the pitfalls and challenges in lighter vein, she utilized the opportunity to give a highly impressive note on the great work being carried out by the ESO in terms of school children screening in terms of both volumes and quality of screening. The day witnessed the awarding of Fellowships, Institutional Awards, Research Awards, Best Optometrist Award, Contribution to Indian Optometry, Best Project award and Communication and Public Relation Award, to the thunderous applause of the large gathering.

Global leader in optical aids crowns SN researcher with a coveted title

IVI Essilor optometry wizard of the year

We take great pleasure and pride in sharing that Ms Mehal P.Rathore, Research Assistant at the Cornea Department has been awarded the coveted title of ‘IVI Essilor optometry wizard of the year’. The competition conducted on a national level by the optical aids major drew participation from all over the country; contestants had to clear a web-based round, phone-in round to qualify for the final face to face round. Ms Mehal demonstrated her deep understanding and clear subject matter expertise in a keenly contested final round held at the Sri Prakash Institute of Optometry, Chennai on 8th November 2018, covering a broad spectrum of topics as diverse as Clinical Ophthalmology, Ocular Diseases, Clinical Optometry, Contact Lens, Low Vision Aids. Binocular Vision and Dispensing Optics to walk away with the title of ‘optometry wizard’ the award included a cash prize of INR 10,000 and the results were covered by leading dailies like the Times of India, Business Standard, Hans India and Daily Hunt.

The Sankara Nethralaya family conveys its hearty Congrats! to Ms Mehal for this high recognition by a leader in optics and for keeping the SN flag flying high in a highly prestigious knowledge exposition. We wish her many more laurels and accolades in her academic and professional journey.

News Digest

The ‘Temple of the Eye’ starts a new chapter in ‘Maanava Seva’ in a sacred temple town

A close look at the inception, growth and 4 decades of service by Sankara Nethralaya would make it apparent that if something has been the consistent moving force for all the above, next only to the blessings of the Kanchi Acharyas, it is the boundless love to mankind, a strong sense of service, a no strings attached generosity and utmost faith in the institution exhibited by its donors and well wishers. It was a beautiful demonstration of this faith that was being showcased on the 20th of September 2018 in the small town of Chetpet in Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu, as the curtains went up on yet another major step in Sankara Nethralaya’s battle against blindness, in a semi urban area. The day’s proceedings got off with a warm welcome note to the large gathering by the visionary founder and Chairman Emeritus presiding over the inaugural of his institution’s 7th unit in the State and 12th in the country, his passion and involvement in the event taking one back to the day the journey began 4 decades ago. Hailing Chief Donor Shri Surajmal Jain, Philantrophist, Visionary, Educationist and Chairman of Acharya Sri Hasthi Aradhana Foundation (ASHA) a long time friend and well wisher, for his massive social service in the region, he underlined that his philanthropy, vision and persistence in doing good were instrumental in the inception of the new unit. The head of Sankara Nethralaya thanked district collector Shri KS Kandaswamy and Rajayogini B.K. Uma of the Brahma Kumari movement for gracing the function, he reiterated the institution’s avowed principle of dispensing high quality care without disparity to both paying and non paying patients and urged the gathering to make the best use of the facility coming up in their locality and fulfil the dream of the generous donor who had envisaged such a service for them.

A typical trait of all Sankara Nethralaya’s endeavours is the blurring of the line of difference between the beneficiary and benefactor and it was evident in great measure at the inaugural with the involvement and efforts to make it a grand event by Shri Surajmal Jain and his family by attending to every little detail with love and ensuring the comfort of the members of the Sankara Nethralaya family and other invitees.

It was a noble event, with noble people participating in it and noble messages filled the air quite naturally, eminent philanthropist and educationist Shri Surajmal Jain whose contribution of the premises for the institution was instrumental in its formation observed that if DrSS.Badrinath had any commercial motives there would be no Sankara Nethralaya today and his consent to start a unit in Tiruvannamalai came as a boon to the people of all the 6 taluks of the district. Guest of Honour Rajayogini B.K. Uma hailed the unit as a contribution of two great Mahans, Shri Surajmal Jain and Dr SS.Badrinath, she persuaded every individual in the gathering to stop thinking for a minute on how to take or receive and concentrate on how to give back to society, which would be for the spiritual and material well being of the world. The public spirited collector of the district Shri K.S.Kandaswamy presiding as the Chief Guest declared that it was the blessings of his birth that he was sharing the dais with a legend like Dr SS.Badrinath, he thanked Shri Surajmal Jain and Sankara Nthralaya for starting an advanced eye care unit that would serve the paying and non paying patients in his district. The collector joined Rajayogini B.K. Uma in making a passionate plea to set aside something from one’s income to the society, adding that philanthropy was not an exclusive prerogative of the wealthy and everyone should exhibit kindness and the spirit of giving within their capacity.  Dr Girish Rao, Medical Director hailed the infrastructure of the new unit as being on par with the main hospital, he had a high word of praise for Shri Surajmal Jain, his wife and sons Shri Kamal and Shri Sunil for their persistence and steadfastness which helped in overcoming several legal and procedural hurdles and made the centre a reality. The crowning glory of the day was the message and blessing by HH Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal, the Pontiff of the Kanchi Mutt, made through a virtual appearance. The Seer explained that it is only by constant pursuit of how, where and when we can be of help and service to fellow human beings that we can fulfil the purpose of our avatar as human beings. He expressed his joy at the opening of a Sankara Nethalaya unit at Tiruvannamalai and blessed the unit for its success and to serve a large number of patients from the region and the noble couple who had contributed to its creation.

The leaders in Contact lens manufacture and its practice/usage join hands for an enlightening session

Sankara Nethralaya conducted a unique contact lens educational program in collaboration and support from Bausch and Lomb in Kolkatta for the practicing Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and other eye care professionals.  The program is named “B+Lieve”. The objective of “B+Lieve” is to provide opportunity to the practicing professionals to interact with the subject experts during a one day program on various topics which will help them enhance their practice and take it to the next level of expertise.

The program was a great success with nearly 100 delegates filling the hall by 8.30a.m itself on a Sunday morning 30th September. The program was lined up with interesting topics including tear film dynamics and contact lens wear, soft contact lens materials, Contact lens wear with digital device use, and a live demonstration and lectures on multifocal fitting, mini scleral and scleral lens fitting.  Distinguished faculty from various fraternity of optometry, Optom and Professor Mr.Jayanta Bhattacharya, IACLE Director of Educational Programs, Mr.Nilesh Thite, Mr. Khem Raj Nackwal, Professional service manager B+L, Optom Ms.Puja Banerjee Optom SN kolkatta, Optom Mr. Indranil from B+L Regional Professional service person from Kolkatta and Dr.Rajeswari Mahadevan Head of contact lens department at SN delivered interesting the lectures.

The session included interesting panel discussion conducted by Mr.Khemraj, Professional services head Bauch+Lomb, about contact lens care. The panel included optometrist practicing optometrist and Head of  from Chain optical outlets , independent practitioners, educationists and researchers which made it very lively and to spell out need of the hour points on lens care. The feedback about program was very good and delegates showed the interest more of such programs along with hands on workshops. The Kolkatta optometry team headed by Ms.Payel , contact lens team  and Bausch + Lomb team made this event very successful by organising things in a timely manner.

Emphatic appeal by legendary ophthalmologist adds great value to Sankara Nethralaya’s awareness creation drive on eye donation

The critical need to harvest human cornea for eye transplant surgeries is evident by the fact that the Union Health Ministry observes the period between September 25 to August 8th as ‘Eye donation fortnight’ culminating on the 8th of August being observed as ‘eye donation day’. A period when it undertakes nationwide activities towards creating awareness on eye donation. As an institution in the forefront of creating awareness on eye donation almost since its inception Sankara Nethralaya leveraged the power and passion of youth power to spread the message of the fortnight, Senior doctors and optometrists and personnel from the eye bank joined hundreds of NSS students from the women’s Christian college and Loyola college espousing the cause of eye donation by holding aloft placards with messages to the effct and raising their voice as they marched and stood as a human chain. Speaking on the ocaasion Dr S Gayatri Senio Coirnea Fellow and Dr N.Radhika emphasized that corneal issues were the next biggest cause for blindness after cataract and glaucoma and the need for massive cornea harvesting. Describing eye donation as a true spirit of giving Dr Radhika added that corneal transplant was the most successful of all organ transplants

Making a surprise prsense veteran ophthalmologist and founder of the LV Prasad Eye hospital the legendary Dr Gulapalli N Rao hailed Dr SS Badrinath as the creator of a worldclass eye hospital and his wife as the movong force behind him, the distinguished doctor lauded Dr Radhika and Dr Prema as outstanding examples off exhibiting the three h’s namely heart,hea and hand. Terming the large gathering studentsa assembled as the generation which has the power o change the world The veteran doctor made a fervent appeal to them to spread awareness on eye donation adding that if each student could convince one family in one year, India would become a nation which exports cornea.

An ascetic from the Ramakrishna Order inspires and educates members of SN on the nation’s 72nd Independence Day.

The Sankara Nethralaya family celebrated the nation’s 72nd Independence Day with great patriotic fervour, the presence of Swamy Vimurthananda, an eminent spiritualist and speaker from the Ramakrishna Order as the chief guest added to the nationalistic spirit of the day. The celebrations started with a soulful rendering of Muhammad Iqbal’s timeless patriotic song ‘Saare Jahan Se accha’ by students of the Sankara Nethralaya Academy. It was a day of great learning and retrospection for members of the Sankara Nethralaya family as the accomplished speaker from the Ramakrishna Mission, Chennai, well known for his role in bringing out the in-house journal of the Mutt and his exhaustive relief work among leprosy patients, gave a spirited talk touching on the worldly and spiritual aspects of life, in the true tradition of the Ramakrishna Order. The Swamiji observed that being a part of the Independence Day celebrations at Sankara Nethralaya was always a great pleasure as the institution observed it as a day of national importance and a day of acknowledging and rewarding the quality and service orientation of its employees.

The Swamiji compared Sankara Nethralaya as a large tree with strong roots in terms of its ethics, tradition, service and quality, well embedded into the nation’s psyche which made it a strong tree that will not fall easily. Underlining Swamy Vivekananda’s lines for renunciation from worldly pleasures and exhorting every citizen to be a giver and a contributor, he observed that he saw Sankara Nethralaya as a ‘Celebration of sacrifice’ with the spirit of service exhibited by everyone from the senior most doctor to the sweeper who kept the place clean. Complimenting the institution on its consistent overall growth he highlighted the Master’s emphatic call to realize one’s spiritual strength as the only way to realizing one’s goals and reaching greater heights in worldly and spiritual growth.

The Swamiji recalled the historic speech of Swami Vivekananda at the ‘Parliament of the World’s Religions’ at Chicago in year 1893 where he most poignantly addressed the gathering as ‘brothers and sisters of America’ which had an electrifying effect on the audience, his prophetic address in year 1897 where he referrd to the great change that would come after 50 years which was proved right with India gaining independence in year 1947. Swami Vimurthananda highlighted that Swami Vivekananda’s soul stirring speeches and the Bhagvad Gita became the clarion call and guiding words for the great men and women who fought for the nation’s freedom. The erudite scholar and orator concluded his absorbing and educative talk with a fervent appeal to the Government of India to honour Dr SS.Badrinath with the nation’s highest civilian award the ‘Bharat Ratna’ in recognition of the selfless service that he and his institution have rendered to society.

The day witnessed the honouring of the ‘Best employee’ (Man) and ‘Best employee’ (Woman) of the year and acknowledging and rewarding  of employees for their period of service, good performance, awards for the best department, sports awards, educational grants for children of employees etc.

A very special facility for a very special group is inaugurated by a very special person!

Special Children ClinicThe 1st of August 2018 marked yet another critical step towards better ophthalmic diagnosis and treatment of children for an institution which could be credited with starting an exclusive paediatric ophthalmology unit and extending specialized diagnosis and treatment to this delicate segment. The day marked the inaugural of the ‘Special Children Clinic’ a special facility with suitable infrastructure and processes within the department to effectively examine a large sub-group among this category of paediatric patients. Broadly termed as ‘Special Children’ they consisted of children with vision problems effected by various mental and physical disabilities, children who cannot express themselves the way normal kids do and hence cannot be subjected to regular paediatric ophthalmic examination that work for normal children, children who need special attention and functional assessment.

The ‘Special Children Clinic’ being opened had been a long time dream of the institution and having the facility inaugurated by Professor Peter Allen made it a case of ‘right man in the right place opening the right facility’ to quote the words of Dr. Jameel Rizwana Hisaindeen, HOD – Binocular vision/ Vision therapy clinic, Sankara Nethralaya,  a key architect of the facility. Dr. Viswanathan S. HOD, Optometry and Optical services, Sankara Nethralaya, an expert in Myopia and another moving force behind the formation of the clinic introduced the star speaker of the day Dr Peter Allen, Professor of Optometry and Visual Sciences, Head of Visual Function and Physiology Research Group, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

The chief guest’s oration on the topic ’Management of Visual issues in Dyslexia & Sports Vision’ proved to be a cascade of facts by the unrivalled expert in the field. Dr Allen explained the difficulties faced by ‘Special Children’ in reading, writing and spelling, he spoke in length on conditions like dyslexia which is neurological in origin, phonological issues that make recognizing letters difficult, the expert spoke on the causes, prevalence and care giving to such patients, adding that such challenges were often misinterpreted as a sign of low IQ while intelligence had little to do with it and often such ‘Special Children’ were quite intelligent. He underlined that while in the UK such conditions were screened/diagnosed by a psychologist, the same could be better managed if perceived as a multi factorial issue which needs a multidisciplinary approach combining the expertise of a child psychologist, special teacher, paediatric ophthalmologist and optometrist. He explained that while Binocular stress and visual instability could be typical optometric manifestations among the effected segment other typical symptoms could be reading difficulty, eye fatigue, constant rubbing of the eyes by the child, need to bring the written matter close to the eyes while reading and poor concentration, he added that such patients often exhibited optometric anomalies like absence of strabismus, squint, lack of evidence of decongested heterophoria, absence of convergence insufficiency, hence the issue needed an individualized, evidence based approach involving clinical optometry and clinical trials.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Rizwana acknowledged the role of world famous Geneticist Dr Kumaramanickavel and Ms Kalpa Negiloni, Senior Research Optometrist at Sankara Nethralaya and lecturer at the Elite School of Optometry in the inception of the clinic. She recalled that the deliberation at EIVOC 2010 and 2016 laid the early seeds to the formation of the facility.

Dr Namita Jacob working with several national & international organizations in the areas of sensory impairments, multiple disabilities & early childhood development was the special guest of the function, hailed the new initiative as a ‘Fantastic Thing’ describing it as a boon for kids with autism, down’s syndrome and other conditions, she said that the facility being inaugurated was her dream since year 2003 and it was her good fortune that she met people like Dr. Kumaramanickavel and Dr Krishna Kumar, Principal, Elite School of Optometry who empathized with her cause and shared her concern for this group’s special needs. The critical role of Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan, Senior Consultant, Paediatric Ophthalmology dept, Sankara Nethralaya as the guru and guide to the forming of the institution and the person who raised the necessary funds for starting the facility were recalled with gratitude at the inaugural of the special facility where paediatric ophthalmologists and paediatric optometrists would join hands in dispensing ‘special eye care’ to ‘Special children’

The queen of expressions captures a 40 year saga of touching and transforming lives, with great intensity

The pleasant evening of Thursday the 6th of September 2018 being celebrated as the 40th Foundation day of Sankara Nethralaya began with a soulful invocation to Lord Ganesha by Srimathi Gomathisri. Extending his warm welcome and thanking the attendees for their presence, Dr Girish Shiva Rao, Medical Director, Sankara Nethralaya began his talk on a note of caution that the institution has traversed a period of time (40 years) in its life when men and women are prone to a common age related eye ailment called ‘Presbyopia’ which makes it difficult to see objects at a close distance and reading fine print, the observation was a call to avoid a short sighted approach and take the right steps for the institution to stay relevant in today’s changing world, as it was when it was started 4 decades back.

Starting her address on a lighter vein that she enjoyed reaching her Presbyopic age along with the institution, Srimathi Akila Ganesan- Director, Administration gave a most poignant account of the four glorious decades by emphasising Sankara Nethralaya’s story of giving, bonding, ethical practice without disparity to paying and patients treated cost free, knowledge dissemination for the common good through quality educational institutions, a highly supportive board of directors and committed and dedicated doctors and abundant blessings from the Guru without which none of the above would have made sense.

The institution had the divine fortune of being blessed by His Holiness Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal the Pontiff of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam on the momentous occasion. Hailing the institution as a very special entity which was blessed by both the Periyavas, the Seer lauded Dr SS.Badrinath’s work as a ‘Himalayan Service’. He had a high word of praise for the institution’s holistic approach to treating blindness, combining clinical expertise and cost free care, a case of the heart meeting the brain and its propensity to acquire knowledge from the world over to benefit its patients both rich and poor, a virtue enshrined in the ancient scriptures. Punning on the Tamil adage ‘Kannum Karuthum’ which translates as ‘With utmost care’ he observed that the institution played the dual role of treating the eye and touching the heart with its philosophy of service.

Vice President, Sankara Nethralaya and Director of Pediatric Ophthalmology Dr TS.Surendran, among the institution’s early employees took the audience on a nostalgic trip laced with humour, providing the lighter moments of the evening and insights into an eventful past.

Delivering the most awaited chief guest’s address on the topic ‘My reminiscences of Sankara Nethralaya’ legendary Danseuse and cultural icon, Barata Jyoti Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam hailed Dr SS.Badrinath as a ‘Kaliyuga Danavantri’ whose life can be best described as ‘Karana Janma’ or a ‘Life full of purpose’ she lauded the institution as a place where values percolate from the top to every level of the hierarchy and described the event as a celebration of the 40th year of service by the Sankara Nethralaya team from Dr SS.Badrinath to the sentry/car park attendant. The long time friend of and well wisher of the institution recapped the golden chapter in Sankara Nethralaya’s history when its founder was blessed with the opportunity to treat the Living God HH Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamigal, her most memorable performance for the institution for which she had chosen songs with the eye as the central theme with great support from the legendary Dr.Balamurali Krishna. Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam eulogized Sankara Nethralaya as another root of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, a Hindu institution which served with the true spirit of service without any expectations and concluded her oration with the observation that the institution was blessed with angelic doctors and enjoyed phenomenal worldwide repute and her wishes for its ‘Ruby Jubilee’.

A major event of the day was the launch of the ‘Sankara Nethralaya Anthem’ or theme song, the brainchild and dream project of Sankara Ratna VV.Ranganathan a long time friend and well wisher of the instititution and its founder and the tireless efforts by him, Dr. Vani Jairam who has given life to the touching lyrics the way only she can, in 4 languages and Shri Dakshin the music director. The event witnessed generous donations towards its cause by Lion Harinarayanan and Lion R. Chandrasekharan and came to a close with a warm vote of thanks by Srimathi Sudha Mohan, Senior Manager-HRD, who described the day as a day of nostalgia to many, news to some.