Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan Memorial Scientific Session

The Third Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan Memorial Scientific Session

Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan is a name that is etched in the field of contact lens practice in India.  Fondly remembered as Dr. Raji, with two decades of experience in the field of contact lens (CL) and international acclaim, she had been a trendsetter in various innovations in CL practice and specialty CL practice in India. In her fond memory, Sankara Nethralaya initiated “Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan Memorial Contact Lens Oration” on her birthday, September 9 since 2020.

On September 9, 2022, the third Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan Memorial Scientific Session took place virtually and featured keynote addresses and research presentations in the area of contact lenses.  This time, we had eminent national and international speakers addressing on Scleral Lens Practice in India by Optom Prasad Sawant, Sawant optometry clinic, Case-based approach in Scleral Lens Fitting by Dr. Maria Walker, University of Houston, Contact lens solutions and materials: concepts to minimize Contact Lens Discomfort (CLD) by Dr. Lakshman Subbaraman, Associate Director, Alcon and Eye Print PRO -Impression technology in Scleral lens by Prof Christine Sindt, University of Iowa.  The response and the feedback that was received for each talk were remarkable.

There were oral scientific presentations, e-posters, and scientific reviews presented by many delegates from across the country. Apart from the contests on photo/video, a quiz on contact lens for the optometry students was initiated for the first time. Judges from India and abroad including Dr. Anitha Arvind, Dr. Rashima A, Dr. Pradipto Bhattacharya, Dr. Jaya Sownjanya Reddy, Optometrist Irene Sophia, and Optometrist Jothibalaji evaluated the entries.  The event was attended by the President of the Medical Research Foundation Dr. Girish S. Rao, Dr. N. Anuradha, Principal of Elite School of Optometry and Dr. A Rashima, Head of Occupational Optometry services, Optom S Madhumathi, In charge of the Contact Lens at Sankara Nethralaya and the entire department of the contact lens.

Cash prizes were announced to the award winners in each category and the details of the winners are listed below

Award winners
Quiz Team Manipal college of health Professionals
 MS Nirmal Ghalley
 Mr Kareem S
 Ms Rinzin Wangmo
PhotographyMr.Vigneshwar A G  M.Optom,Elite School of Optometry,SASTRA university
Scientific Article ReviewMr.Krishna Shah (M.Optom, The Sankara Nethralaya Academy, MGR university)
E-Poster Ms. Karpagavalli S (Senior Optometrist-Dept.of Contact Lens, Sankara Nethralaya)
Oral PresentationMs.Vanessa Barnes (Contact Lens Fellow, The Sankara Nethralaya Academy)

A brief on the Department of Contact Lens
During the Years 2020-2022

  • Seen nearly 15,000 cases, including Specialty contact lens cases,
  • Trained about 5 Fellowship students and 8 Postgraduates from the department of Contact lenses.
  • About 10 peer-reviewed journal publications
  • 3 optometrists Received FIACLE status (Fellowship in the International Association for Contact Lens Educators)
  • Received Prestigious IACLE Travel Award – 2022

1st Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan Memorial Scientific Session 9 Sep 2020

Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan, fondly called as Raji, who headed the contact lens clinic for almost two decades, epitomized leadership, courage, resilience, dedication, perfection, and innovation. She brought in all the best practices and advancements in the field of contact lenses and specialty contact lenses to Sankara Nethralaya that raised the status of the contact lens clinic at SN to the Numero Uno position.

Raji graduated from the prestigious Elite school of Optometry (ESO) in 1998 and went ahead to pursue her M.Phil and Ph.D. in contact lenses while continuing to serve at SN. She held a number of first-of-its-kind accolades including a Ph.D. in the field of specialty contact lenses, PROSE clinical fellowship from the Boston Foundation for Sight, USA to becoming the Asia Pacific Regional President of the executive board of the “International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE)”. She became a Fellow of the International Association of Contact Lens Educators (FIACLE) in 2000, obtained FSLS a fellowship from the scleral lens education society in 2014, awarded the first initiated, ‘Educator of the Year’ award in the field of contact lens in Asia pacific region for the year 2014, received the Fellowship from the British Contact Lens Association (FBCLA) in the year 2014, Fellowship from the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) in 2016, and served as the Asia Pacific – President for IACLE. The proudest moment in her life was authoring her first book on “Trouble Shooting and Problem Solving in Contact Lens Practice,” which was released during the ESO’s International Vision Science and Optometry Conference in 2015 by her revered Guru Mahatria Ra. She had also authored a chapter on “Role of Contact Lens in Different Environment” in ‘Dr. Santanam’s Text book of Occupational Optometry’ and also contributed a chapter on “Cornea and Contact Lens” in Peyman’s Ophthalmology.

The American Academy of Optometry has honored Raji with a posthumous honorary Diplomate in the Cornea, Contact Lens and Refractive Therapy (CCLRT) section – the highest recognition in the field one could possibly ever get right now. This shows the exemplary clinician researcher that Raji was across the global fraternity!

On her fond memory, the Medical Research Foundation had organized a Memorial Scientific Session on her birthday, September 9, 2020 to celebrate her legacy in contact lens and research. The first Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan Memorial Scientific Session was a virtual conference with a live telecast on YouTube. The conference brought together budding clinicians and researchers from contact lens and optometry background.

Prof.Edward S. Bennett, Executive Director and President of GP Lens Institute, Clinical Features Editor of the Contact lens Spectrum, Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri – St. Louis College of Optometry, was the Oration speaker. His oration on “Indications and fitting of corneal GP designs – Has it changed over the years and how?” enlightened the audience with insights and journey of GP lenses

The Keynote speaker was Dr. R. Krishnakumar, freelance Optometrist and Educationalist and Former Principal of Elite School of Optometry. His address on “Integrated practice model for Optometrists in India” was very informative to the upcoming optometrists.

The session had a panel discussion by experts in the field of contact lens, Dr. Anitha Arvind, Specialty Contact Lens Practitioner, Co-educator for Rose-k lenses and Reviewer for Contact lens and Anterior Eye, Mr. Preetam Kumar, Consultant Optometrist, Cornea and Contact Lens Services, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Ms. Rinu Thomas, Assistant Professor, Department of Optometry, Manipal Institute of Health Professionals and Mr. Asif Iqbal, Senior Optometrist, Sankara Nethralaya. The discussion was on “Specialty Contact Lenses in Ocular Surface Disorders – Present and Future”. The discussion was based on the common challenges faced by practitioners in the clinic and the way to handle it professionally. The recent advances in specialty lenses for Ocular surface disorders and its practice in India was also discussed.

The scientific session consisted of e-posters, oral presentations and panel discussion. Abstracts were also available in the E-abstract book in the website. A total of 17 E-posters and 5 oral presentations were short-listed, out of which, 2 best E-posters and 1 best oral presentation were awarded a certificate and an award money of Rs.10,000 each by the Medical Research Foundation. The winners for the best E-posters were, Mr. Asif Iqbal, Senior Optometrist, Contact Lens department, Sankara Nethralaya and Ms. Akshaya C. Balakrishnan, Graduate Student, Elite School of Optometry. The best oral presentation was awarded to Ms. Pooja Nandagopal, Graduate Student, Manipal Academy of Higher Education.

The session with almost 1.5k views in YouTube was successfully received by the audience. It was an event of pride for the entire contact lens team of Sankara Nethralaya to conduct the first scientific session in Dr. Rajeswari’s memory.