Niche ophthalmic facility springs to a vibrant start

Uvea department at Sankara Nethralaya

The highly prestigious and one of its kind, Uvea department at Sankara Nethralaya got off to an auspicious launch on Sunday, 30th March 2014 at the 4th floor of the Sri Venugopal Block, Sankara Nethralaya Main campus with the lighting of the traditional lamp by Dr.Soumya Swaminathan, Director, National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis and Dr. K. Namitha Bhuvaneswari, Director & Superintendent, Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Government Ophthalmic Hospital, Chennai.

Zora Neale Hurston’s quote “Research is formalized curiosity, it is poking and prying with a purpose”, by the compeer Dr. Saranya Sarah Abraham, Fellow at the Medical Retina and Uvea Department gave a befitting start to the day’s function.

Following the welcome address by Dr. Amala E.George,  Senior Consultant at the UVEA department, Dr. Mamta Agarwal, Senior Consultant, UVEA read the greeting message of Dr. Narsing A. Rao, Director of Uveitis Services, USC Eye Institute, University of Southern California, USA, who congratulated the Uvea team at Sankara Nethralaya, headed by Dr.Prof.Jyotirmay Biswas for establishing a superb sub-specialty department and receiving global acclaim for spearheading research, training and clinical management of Uveal inflammations, infections and disorders.

Introducing fellow faculty members Dr.Sudharshan, Senior Consultant at the UVEA department said the department saw over 1200 new cases every year in addition to the 3000 odd old patients who underwent complex Uveitis treatment in association with supportive specialties such as the Microbiology and pathology departments.

Dr.Jyotirmay Biswas, Director, Uvea, subtly quoting TH Huxley on “Known is finite, unknown being infinite… the quest for knowledge and research is ever growing” traced the genesis of the department from 1983 he hailed his predecessor Dr.Rajnikantha, a pioneer in Uvea, for her immaculate recording of cases that greatly aided critical research findings in intra ocular inflammations, lesions, vision threatening choroditis, her landmark study of Eales’ disease, its association with Tuberculosis and currently the study on HIV affectation of UVEA. He pointed out that the department had over 300 research publications and innumerable chapters in books to its credit, its members have authored several books, the most significant ones including “Atlas of Uveitis and Scleritis”, “Ocular lesions in AIDS” to name a few. He added that Uvea cases involving scleritis were often challenging and Tuberculosis Uveitis patients were usually treated with anti TB drugs, steroids and immuno suppressive agents and timely treatment enhanced vision restoration.

Dr.Biswas had a high word of praise for Dr. Sudha K Ganesh, Deputy Director, for her deft skills in performing complicated cataract surgeries, managing Uveal inflammations.

Introducing Dr. Namitha K.Bhuvaneswari, Director and Superintendent at the Government Ophthalmic Hospital, Chennai, Dr. Suchitra Pradeep, Consultant, Uvea department recalled that Dr. Namitha was the premier force in bringing ORBIS to India.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Namitha congratulated Dr. Biswas for his yeoman research work that helped budding Uvea experts all around the globe. Quoting statistics at government ophthalmic institutions on treatment and management of UVEAL disorders, she pleaded with ophthalmic practitioners for timely referral of crucial endophthalmitis cases for tertiary treatment to pursue damage control measures and to restore vision.

Dr.Parthopratim Dutta Majumder, Associate Consultant, UVEA department introduced Dr.Sowmya Swaminathan, the Chief Guest of the evening as an authority in the treatment of Tuberculosis-Ocular diseases who had over 170 publications and 15 books to her credit and currently served as the Chair of the HIV section of the International Union against TB and Lung Diseases and Director, National Institute For Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai.

Releasing the book highlighting facilities at Sankara Nethralaya’s UVEA department, Dr. Sowmya in her presidential address, showered her praise on Sankara Nethralaya for its excellence in clinical practice, patient care, academics and being a tower of inspiration to one and all.

Dr.Sowmya had a deep word of appreciation for Dr.H.N.Madhavan, Director, Microbiology department, VRF for aiding exemplary diagnostic processes.

Dr.Sowmya recalled her association with Dr.Biswas when they treated patients for extra pulmonary TB particularly Uveitis where tissue/ fluid for diagnosis was difficult and hence diagnosis were based on other evidences, CMV retinitis, pan uveitis and multi drug resistant tuberculosis cases.

The function concluded with a cultural program by Shri Badri Surendran followed by dinner.

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