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Sankara Nethralaya Expands its Oncology Services by Collaborating with Apollo Hospitals Chennai

Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai is happy to announce its expansion of services in the field of eye cancers.  Delivering quality care at affordable rates has ever been the policy of Sankara Nethralaya (SN) since its inception.  Following the footsteps of its founder Dr. S. S. Badrinath and to strive for excellence in the field of ocular oncology, Sankara Nethralaya joined hands with Apollo Proton Cancer Centre (APCC), Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd.  This collaboration with Apollo Proton Cancer Centre will open the doors for a wide range of facilities to be made accessible to patients suffering from primary eye cancers or cancers involving other tissues with metastatic spread to the eye.  Ocular oncology team of Sankara Nethralaya and oncology team of Apollo hospitals will work together to offer a holistic approach for ocular conditions requiring a multidisciplinary approach and vice versa.

This historic moment began with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by Dr. Girish S. Rao, President of Medical Research Foundation on 1stJuly, 2021 with Mrs Preetha Reddy, the Executive Vice Chairperson of the Apollo Hospitals Group in the presence of  Dr. T. S. Surendran, Vice Chairman, Director of Paediatric Ophthalmology, Dr. Ronnie George, President, Director of Research, Director of Glaucoma Services, Dr. Ambika S., Director of Neuro – Ophthalmology, Dr. Suganeswari Ganesan, Senior Consultant, Vitreoretina and oncology services, Mr Harshad Reddy, Director Apollo home care and Mr. Suresh Kumar P, General Manager (SN).

The Ocular Oncology Service of Sankara Nethralaya caters to both common and rare cancers.  With availability of cutting-edge imaging and treatment modalities, exploring newest treatment or techniques in advanced eye cancers will soon be a reality.

Special highlight of this MOU would be facilitation of multidisciplinary tumor board meetings.  Services offered to patients of Sankara Nethralaya would be at nominal rates and would cover PET CT, neurosurgical procedures, intra-arterial chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Apart from external beam radiation therapy, other novel radiation therapy called proton therapy is a specialised treatment, which tends to deliver focused radiation to the tumor itself with less radiation to surrounding healthy tissue.  This is a useful modality in the management of pediatric solid tumors with the least side effects.

Ocular oncologists from Sankara Nethralaya will also work with radiologists, radiation oncologists and neurosurgeons in a constant effort to save more human lives, preserve vision and globe salvage.

Sri Nathella Sampathu Chetty Clinical Laboratory Installation of DXH 560- Small And Mighty From Beckman Coulter

DxH 560

The compact 5 part differential autoloader Hematology Analyzer with effective clinical sensitivity, low sample volume (17µL), increased throughput has been successfully installed in Department of clinical Hematology and Clinical pathology.

DxH 800

This machine will be serving as a standby equipment for the existing higher version DxH 800 (with automated slide makes and stainer)

Dr.S.Vasanthi Badrinath (Lab Advisor, SNSC Clinical lab) did the honor of inaugurating the equipment on 8/7/21. This is the first equipment of its kind to be installed in Tamil Nadu at Sri Nathella Sampathu Chetty Clinical laboratory Medical Research Foundation.

Sri A Jagannathan Memorial Concert Series Completes 300 concerts

The Sri A Jagannathan Memorial Concert series organized by Sankara Nethralaya USA’s Joint Secretary & Trustee Mr. Sowmiyanarayan in memory of his father, Sri A Jagannathan completes 300 concerts.  Over the one-year period, Sri Sowmiyanarayan organized 300 concerts and gave opportunities for more than 450 artists from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

The fundraising concert series was created by Sri Sowmiyanarayan to honor his father’s memory.  His son, Sanjith Narayanan, and his violin teacher, Sri Kamalkiran Vinjamuri helped arrange the concerts.  Initially scheduled only for ten days, the virtual concert series proved to be so popular it was extended multiple times and became an ongoing music concert series.

The extremely talented great-granddaughters of the unforgettable Bharat Ratna Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi and Sangeetha Ratnakara Dr. Radha Vishwanathan:- S. Aishwarya and S. Saundarya, performed for our grand landmark of reaching 150 concerts.  Young and talented artists from Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, UAE, UK, USA, Singapore, and Sweden have come forward to perform for this good cause and showcase their unique talents.

Your enthusiastic support and contributions have enabled Sankara Nethralaya to perform eye surgeries for over 2000 poor indigent patients over the past year.  We thank you all for the tremendous support that you have given to Sankara Nethralaya and this festival.

Sri Sowmiyanarayan thanks Sri Vibhu Rao (Mani Krishnaswami Academy), Sri Ramesh Sooryanarayanan ( Sai Rocks Studio), Chi. Sai Bharath (Sai Rocks Studio) and respected gurus.

Sankara Nethralaya Congratulates Our Doctors

Several of our ophthalmologists received awards and also presented significant lectures in their areas of specialisation at the recently concluded 79th Annual Conference of All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS).  This was the first virtual conference (from 24th June, 2021 to 27th June, 2021) due to the ongoing pandemic.

Dr. T. S. Surendran, Vice Chairman and Director – Dept. of Paediatric Ophthalmology, Delivered the 2nd Dr L P Agarwal Endowment Lecture on 26th June, 2021. Dr. TSS delivered a brief overview on Sankara Nethralaya and its philosophies, our community outreach programs, specializations, and technological achievements, including the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU), Hospital Management System, Clinical Decision Support System, and Ophthalmic EMR.

Dr. Jyotirmay Biswas, Director – Dept. of Ophthalmology – Uvea, won the AIOC posterior podium award in Uvea section on 24th June, 2021 and the Rajendra Prasad Oration award (Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Science).

Dr Rajiv Raman, Senior Consultant, Shri Bhagwan Mahavir Vitreoretinal services, received the P Siva Reddy International Award at the Virtual AIOS meeting in June 2021 for his significant research work in the field of Diabetic Retinopathy.

Dr. Sudharshan S, Senior Consultant, Dept. of Uvea & Intraocular Inflammation won the AIOS-IJO Gold Award for the Year 2020 for the paper “Human immunodeficiency virus and intraocular inflammation in the era of highly active anti-retroviral therapy – An update”

Dr. Vineet Ratra won the International Ophthalmic Heroes of India, May 2020 for his video on Iatrogenic Descemetorhexis during Cataract Surgery; The Intraoperative Telltale Signs and Postoperative Management in ASCRS.

The following doctors won the IJO Honor Award for Peer Review for their outstanding quality of reviewing:

Dr. Dhanashree Ratra, Senior Consultant, Dept. of Ophthalmology – Vitreo Retinal;
Dr. Muna P Bhende, Deputy Director, Dept. of Ophthalmology – Vitreo Retinal; and
Dr. Mohammad Shahid Alam, Consultant, Dept. of Orbit Oculoplasty – Reconstructive and Aesthetic Services, Aditya Birla Sankara Nethralaya.

SN and Social Responsibility…. Beyond Duty during Pandemic Second Wave

A 10 – member team from Sankara Nethralaya braved the Second Wave and volunteered alongside the doctors and staff of Stanley Government Medical College and Hospital for two weeks.

The New block in Stanley Medical College Hospital (SMCH) in Chennai, along with four other blocks, serving with 1,700 COVID beds, were intimidating yet filled with rays of hope for the locality and beyond.

The second pandemic wave has thrown us many challenges, with our healthcare system struggling to cope. Shortage of oxygen and medications, urgency in vaccine coverage, infodemic that dents the efforts of public health, and undermines the humongous efforts of health care workers are among the challenges. One such challenge is healthcare manpower, which can never be enough in a population such as ours.

Sankara Nethralaya, while going through these challenges with responsibility during the lockdown, responded with eleven of its volunteers, helping the staff of SMCH in various stages of patient care at zero delay rooms, triage wards and IMCU care. The doctors, nurses and social workers in the SN team put forth their skills and knowledge in triaging, helping to treat and manage care for the suffering patients in a small yet significant way, thus, reducing the burden of the hospital staff.

Donning their PPEs everyday from 8 am till 2 pm, the never ending wave of patients were helped at this COVID war zone by our volunteers from 13th May 2021 for two weeks. Effective protocols in place, the hospital staff managed these patients in four shifts. Our brave warriors wished it was possible for them to help in all of the hours but they had to keep human endurance as a reality check.

The volunteering efforts were spearheaded by Dr Suganeswari Ganesan, Senior Consultant, Retina & Oncology Services; Dr Baskaran Mani, Senior Consultant and Deputy Director Glaucoma Services; Dr. Gajendra Kumar Verma, Consultant Community Ophthalmology; Dr Sivaranjani P and Dr Radhika Sriram, Post graduates; Nurse Leela Bai R and Nurse Uma K, Hospital Infection Committee Executives; Kanagaraj and Vinoth kumar B, Ophthalmic Nursing assistants; Arun Kumar, Diabetic Retinopathy Project Manager; and Saravanan M., Multimedia Services.

It is heartening to note that in-kind and cash donations have come in from SN Alumni and other well wishers, seeing the efforts of our volunteers. This is used to get essentials such as portable O2 delivery systems, adult diapers and N95 masks to better equip our staff in the fight against this pandemic.

We wish this scourge recedes to bring us back to normalcy as quickly as possible. However, it is but reality that it will stay for a while and thus there is a need for help in kind as well as in manpower to volunteer in such ‘war’ zones. Let humanity prevail in helping our fellow citizens.

Media News

“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.