It was an interesting demonstration of reversal of sequence in acknowledgement and honour when SASTRA University a high seat of academia and research honoured a critical finding pertaining to the preventive eye health of children with a PhD. The trail blazing finding and recommendation by Ms Kalpa Negiloni, PLOS One, Senior Research Optometrist LASFIN Project, Sankara Nethralaya, titled ‘Environmental factors and Visual requirements in school classrooms and development of recommendations for classroom visual environment’a recommendation on lighting levels and seating ergonomics in school classrooms, which would not only enable better viewing of the blackboard and books leading to better academic results and also have a far reaching impact on the eye health of school children, was honoured with a Doctorate. While the transition of most scientific findings is from academia to real time application, a phenomena popularly referred to in clinical parlanceas ‘bench to bedside’, the finding by Ms Kalpa Negiloni had interestingly made headlines in ‘Times of India’ a mainstream newspaper as a human interest story and was also adopted as a benchmark in regulating classroom illumination and seating pattern by the Directorate of School Education, Tamil Nadu and shared with the heads of government schools in the State through a Government Order (GO) issued by the Director of School Education, Tamil Nadu.
The finding of mass impact cleared the highest scientific evaluation when Ms Kalpa successfully defended the same on the 31st of December 2018 before the doctoral jury at SASTRA University’s Thanjavur campus, consisting of Dr Sudharsanam Manni Balasubramaniam, who serves as Manager -Evidence Measurement and Evaluation at Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, New Delhi (CIFF) the well known London Headquartered philanthropic organization, who was the chairman of the open defense viva voce examination and Dr Jayalalitha, Dean- Research, SASTRA University along with members of the faculty who were the evaluation team. The interactive presentation proved to be a good learning experience for the 2nd year BS Optometry students at SASTRA who had assembledas observers. Ms Kalpa Negiloni was guided in her doctoral work by Dr RR.Sudhir, Head of the Department, Preventive Ophthalmology and Senior Consultant, CJ Shah Corneal Services, Sankara Nethralaya and Dr Krishna Kumar Ramani, Principal Elite School of Optometry (ESO).
The findings assume special significance in view of the fact that children spend an average of 6 to 7 hours every day at their classrooms for almost 10 years of their life and thecost benefit ratio of implementation of the recommendations which makes it a highly feasible step that could be implemented across a large number of rural schools.
The Sankara Nethralaya family conveys its hearty Congratulations! to Dr Kalpa Negiloni on her constant pursuit of improving the typical classrooms in Indian schools and her findings which would have a significant impact on the vision and visual comfort of a highly delicate group and wishesher many more laurels and accolades in her academic and professional journey.