February 2015

Head of Sankara Nethralaya’s Neuro-Ophthalmology department receives twin honours at prestigious topical meet


A Poster presented by Dr S.Ambika, Senior Consultant and Head of Sankara Nethralaya’s Neuro-Ophthalmology Department was ranked in the 1St place at the ICTRIMS-2015, a high level topical seminar held under the aegis of the Indian Academy of Neurology and the Madras Neuro Trust on the 14th and 15th of February 2015, to update on Neuromyelitis Optica and Multiple Sclerosis and related disorders, the event also witnessed the senior Neuro professional’s contributions as a faculty at the prestigious event being awarded with a certificate of appreciation and acknowledgement by the highly impressed committee members.


Life and achievements of a long time friend of Sankara Nethralaya, dynamic SN OM Trustee and wife get chronicled into Houston’s glorious history.

Texas based ‘The Foundation For India studies’ (FIS) dedicated to the objective of highlighting and promoting India’s contribution to the world in the field of languages, literature, arts, sciences, engineering, politics, economics and spirituality has embarked on an ambitious initiative titled ‘The Houston Indo-American Oral History Project’ in collaboration with the Houston Public library (HPL) and Houston Community College System (HCCS) to develop a centralized oral history archive on the experiences of first generation Indo-Americans settled in  Houston, through first person narratives. The archive would help researchers, educationists, historians better understand the life, experiences and contribution of early settlers from the sub-continent and next generation Indians to trace their roots.

Shri Sam Kannappan and his wife Shrimathi Kannappan among the most prominent, versatile and multifaceted early Indian settlers with a glorious record of contributing both to their motherland and their country of adoption and to fellow American Indians were interviewed as part of this project.

The interview was later covered by ‘Voice of Asia’ the largest Asian American weekly in Texas.

We take great pride and pleasure in sharing the same with our readers.

Click here for the Interview

Sankara Nethralaya team’s informative joint submission adjudged as ‘Best Poster’ for year 2015, at prestigious ophthalmic meet

Dr. Nishat Bansal

An in-depth analysis of vascular abnormalities in the eye, illustrated through a series of real time cases, authored by Dr. Nishat Bansal, Research cum Vitreo-Retina Fellow and co-authored by Dr. Muna Bhende, Senior Consultant and Dr. Jaya Prakash.V, Consultant, Vitro-Retinal Services, Sankara Nethralaya and presented as a poster titled ‘Peripheral Polypoidal Choroidal Vasculopathy – A case series’ was selected as the best physical poster and chosen as the winner of the E.T Selvam award for the ‘Best Poster’ at the 73rd All India Ophthalmic Conference held recently at New Delhi.

A world renowned expert’s insights on ‘Paediatric ophthalmic disorders’ throws new light on the subject.

Paediatric ophthalmic disorders

The 12th edition of the ‘Dr. Nagamani Dharmapuri Endowment Lecture’ dedicated to high level discourse on paediatric ophthalmology and facilitate a vibrant exchange of the latest developments in the field, was observed with great intellectual fervor at the Sri V.D. Swami Auditorium, Sankara Nethralaya main campus on the 14th of February 2015. The presence of such stalwarts of the medical profession like the guest speaker of the day Professor Gerald Shultz, Associate Professor, Loma Linda School of Medicine, California, special invitee Dr. Namitha K. Bhuvaneswari, Director and Superintendent, Regional Institute of Ophthalmology and Government Ophthalmic Hospital,Chennai, Dr. Mohan Rajan, Chairman & Medical Director ‘Rajan Eye Care Hospital’ underlined the significance of the event.

Delivering the welcome address Dr. Sumitha Agarkar, Deputy Director, Department of Paediatric Ophthalmology, Sankara Nethralaya observed that the most generous gesture and thoughtful of sharing the latest findings in the field of paediatric ophthalmology by establishing an endowment in his wife Dr. Nagamani Dharmapuri’s name underlined the noble couple’s commitment to their homeland and was a true example of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s call for the free exchange of knowledge. She recalled that great stalwarts have addressed the audience year after year on this momentous day and gave an account of the impressive work done in paediatric ophthalmology by Sankara Nethralaya.

Dr S.Meenakshi, Senior Consultant, Peadiatric Ophthalmology and Director Academics, Sankara Nethralaya introduced the esteemed  the guest speaker of the day, Professor Gerald Shultz  as a world renowned ophthalmic geneticist with special interest in anterior segment, she gave an interesting account of his professional affiliations, books authored and lectures delivered at the most prestigious ophthalmic centers in the world. This was followed by a ceremonial honouring of the dignitaries by the Chairman Emeritus and Vice-Chairman of Sankara Nethralaya. Giving a brief note on Dr.Mohan Rajan guest of honour of the day Dr T.S.Surendran observed that he did not want to give a formal intro of a person who was so familiar to the Sankara Nethralaya family, he thanked him for the great assistance to Sankara Nethralaya by mobilizing substantial funds and introducing organizations like Cognizant Technologies. In his characteristic style and in keeping with the cricket mania that had gripped the city he gave interesting tidbits on how Dr. Mohan Rajan was an all rounder in the game of cricket and cricketing idols like Mathew Hayden and Sachin Tendulkar were his patients. Dr. T.S.Surendran completed his talk with his observation that the Madras Ophthalmic Association and Sankara Nethralaya were the left and right eye of Dr. Mohan Rajan.

Delivering the guest of honor address, Dr. Mohan Rajan paid rich tributes to his Alma Mater, Sankara Nethralaya, its illustrious founder and Chairman Emeritus and his Guru Dr. SS.Badrinath. he fervently appealed to the Fellows and students assembled to make the best use of the world class amenities and teaching available at Sankara Nethralaya, he cited his wife Dr. Sujatha Mohan and himself as great beneficiaries of the same, he complimented Sankara Nethralaya as the only ophthalmic center in the world which had reached excellence in clinical care, research and education, adding that ophthalmic history in the country will be chronicled as ‘before Dr. Badrinath’ and ‘after Dr. Badrinath’ the man who made it a reality. He had a high word of praise for Dr. TS.Surendran’s dedication and single handed perseverance which had raised the paediatric department at Sankara Nethralaya to glorious heights.

The illustrious guest speaker of the day started his oration on ‘Genetic and acquired paediatric disorders’ on a lighter note with fond recollections of a tall and handsome Dr. SS.Badrinath whom he recalled sitting with his vitreo-retinal colleagues in the front benches and listening intently to the lectures, he added that while Dr SS.Badrinath moved to the renowned Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, he moved to military service which is mandatory for US citizens. Dr Shultz declared that young Dr SS.Badrinath had a dream and a passion adding that ‘We are here today because of its fulfillment’. What followed was a most interesting and informative talk on the role of genes, chromosomes, inherited/acquired ophthalmic disorders, genetics of hereditary cataract, importance of prenatal screening, genomic infections and corneal opacities.  impact of sexually transmitted diseases in uveitis,  embellished with real time case studies. The learned professor had a high word of appreciation for the work done in the role of sexually transmitted diseases in causing uveitis by Dr. Jyotirmay Biswas, Director Uveitis and Opthalmic Pathology department, Sankara Nethralaya.

The highly charged and momentous day came to an end with a vote of thanks by Dr. Srikanth observing that the Sankara Nethralaya family was both humbled and inspired by the in-depth oration.

Senior Consultants from Sankara Nethralaya win high recognitions at nation’s major ophthalmic meet.

ophthalmic meet

A critical study and findings on the impact of Foveal depression/thickness in Age Related Macular Diseases(ARMD), by Dr. Tarun Sharma, Director, Bhagwan Mahaveer Vitro-retinal Services, Sankara Nethralaya, titled “Foveal slope measurements in subjects with high risk of age related macular degeneration” was awarded the ‘1st Silver Award’ by the ‘Indian Journal of Ophthalmology’ and a paper titled “Polymerase chain reaction of intraocular fluid for mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB)” a ground breaking work on effective leveraging of the advanced Polymerase Chain Reaction Process (PCR) to detect or rule out the presence of tuberculosis bacterium in the intraocular fluid, by Dr. Jyotirmay Biswas, Director, Uveitis and Ophthamic Pathology Department, Sankara Nethralaya was awarded the “The best paper read at the UVEA session” and a paper titled  “Diffusion weighted imaging- A predictor of visual outcome in acute optic neuritis” an in-depth work and observation on greater leveraging of ‘imaging technology’ to effectively asses visual outcome in patients with Neuro -optic problems, by Dr S.Ambika, Senior Consultant, Department of Neuro-Ophthalmology and Head of  Neuro- Ophthalmology services, Sankara Nethralaya was awarded the “D.Athawale Award” by the scientific committee at the 73rd All India Ophthalmic Conference (AIOC) the annual meet of the All India Ophthalmic Society (AIOS) held between 5th and 8th of February 2015 at New Delhi. The Sankara Nethralaya family heartily congratulates the winners for the high honour bestowed on them and the impact of their study and findings in better understanding and treatment of eye ailments.

‘You can make the difference in society’ implores senior Sankara Nethralaya member to student outreach community of leading City College

As an institution with the firm belief that the disturbingly high gap between the need and availability of cornea for transplant can be bridged not by an individual or institution but only by creating awareness on eye donation at the ground level and by making it a ‘mass movement,’ Sankara Nethralaya conducts several eye donation awareness programs. Srimathi Akila Ganesan, Senior General Manager addressed a large gathering of students belonging to the Loyola Outreach Department, formed to make students experience and express concern for the society especially the poor and needy, at the historic Bertram Hall on 30th of January 2015, as part of this ongoing initiative. Highlighting that the UNESCO has declared year 2015 as the ‘Year of Light’ she made an emphatic appeal to the students to make it as the ‘Year of Light and Vision’ by bringing the light of vision into the life of the visually impaired. She gave a real time feel of the despair undergone by the visually challenged by engaging the audience in an interesting exercise of holding their badges with just one of their eyes closed, a simple act which they found difficult to do and asking them to try and take a walk within their own homes with their eyes closed to experience the suffering that the visually challenged underwent all their lives.

Explaining that one of the reasons why the dear and near ones of the deceased person were apprehensive of donating the eyes is fear of disfigurement or mutilation of the face, she clarified that it was not the entire eye that was removed but only the cornea as it is only the cornea which is replaced to bring back vision, she highlighted that corneal blindness accounted for a staggering 5 million and it needs eye donation on a massive scale to overcome the situation. Srimathi Akila Ganesan made a spirited appeal to the students gathered to be the foot soldiers in the battle against blindness with each one of them taking a firm resolve that ‘the problem of India’s blindness is my problem’.  She emphasized that each one of them could contribute to the upliftment of society, their locality and the neighbourhood which in turn will change the nation into a better place to live in all respects, She explained that their individual involvement in combating blindness will have a ripple effect which would ultimately crescendo into a mighty movement which would eradicate blindness from the face of the earth. The address drew great applause and appreciation and won many young hearts to the cause of eye donation.

This was followed by an address on the current eye donation scenario, various steps being taken for creating awareness and how students and the youth of the country could play a major role in this noble endeavour, by Shri S.V.G.Subramanian, Deputy Manager, CU Shah Eye Bank, Sankara Nethralaya

School children vision testing- A new trend A unique model

Like most health ailments the best period to test, prevent/treat and cure eye ailments is during its early stages, hence regular eye examination during childhood becomes an imperative part of lifelong eye health. It is also a fact that children in their playfulness fail to share vision discomforts they may be experiencing and would open up only when specific questions are asked. Bearing these points in mind the National Programme for control of Blindness conducts eye examination camps for children at least twice a year.  Sankara Nethralaya’s Elite School of Optometry (ESO) also specializes in conducting eye screening camps for children.

A comprehensive vision testing for children studying in 29 schools located in Chennai Corporation Zone – 1 comprising of Ennore, Thiruvotriyur and Manali was carried out on February 4th 2015.The students underwent examination for refractive errors and also their binocular vision status and the general health of their eyes. The vision testing involved a three-phased structured protocol consisting of basic vision screening, detection of refractive errors and referral for other ocular problems.

The highlights of this event was the screening of 4604 children belonging mainly to the economically backward sections of society spread over 29 different schools  for eye and vision problems in a single day. In 2012 the Elite School of Optometry, Sankara Nethralaya created a national record for eye screening of School children by testing 8469 children in a day. 19 Teams comprising 150 members performed vision testing in the school premises between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm.

In the recently concluded camp 171 children totaling to (3.71%) were identified with refractive errors. These children were given an option of choosing their own frames, which were trendy and stylish. This is to improve the compliance of spectacle wear, as cosmetic appearance is one of the major reasons for children not wearing their spectacles. Lenses for these spectacles would be made of plastic material, considering the safety of children’s eyes. Previous survey done by Elite School of Optometry showed that only 18% of children use the prescribed spectacles because of various reasons like teasing by friends, cosmetic factors and difficulty during sports. 117 (2.54%) children identified with ocular problems like squint, ptosis and cataract were referred to Sankara Nethralaya for free treatment. Parents of children with vision problems will be informed of their children’s vision status and counseled. Spectacles will be distributed in 10 days time in the school premises itself and parents will also be invited to collect the spectacles.

Lack of information to parents about their child’s condition in the conventional school screening is one of the main reasons for poor compliance to spectacles and other treatment options.The Elite School’s of optometry’s aim is to eliminate all these barriers and create a unique model in the school children vision testing henceforth said Ms. N. Anuradha, Vision Screening Coordinator, Elite School of Optometry.

Creating awareness among all the stakeholders especially parents and teachers and involving them as part of the screening would create an impact on the school vision screening models” added Dr. R Krishna Kumar, Principal, Elite School of Optometry.

For more details contact Dr. R. Krishna Kumar- 044 2234 6023

The Sankara Nethralaya Academy’s 1st batch of Healthcare Quality Management program receives enthusiastic response.

The Sankara Nethralaya Academy (TSNA), the academic arm of its illustrious parent institution and world class eye care provider is committed to sharing the knowledge and experience of its parent institution to enhance the overall functioning of the Medicare industry, by improving every one of its multiple facets.

Shri C S Ramakrishan, Chief Operating Officer, ACME Consulting, addressing the Session

The need for better and more professional management of hospitals and better healthcare delivery became imperative in view of greater awareness levels and rising expectations of patients and their families, entry of Indian and overseas players into the health care industry, India especially South India becoming a preferred healthcare destination of patients from all over the world and the disturbing increase and complexity of ailments.

This is a first of its kind in the country Certificate Course dedicated to the area of Healthcare Quality, a key concern in Hospitals today. The spurt in medical errors, accidents and high profile cases of negligence has brought the entire healthcare sector under a cloud, negating the tremendous amount of good work actually being done.

This situation can be addressed only by professionalizing Hospital services and making quality as the very basis and crux in every aspect of the healthcare delivery, thereby ensuring Hospitals are safe and patient centric and the treatment provided is effective, producing the desired outcomes.

Realising this most critical need, The Sankara Nethralaya Academy, an academic wing of Sankara Nethralaya, the epitome of healthcare quality in the country, ACME Consulting, India’s largest Healthcare Quality Advisory and Association of Healthcare Providers of India (AHPI), the only countrywide association of Hospitals in the country have joined hands to develop this Certificate Course that will help all categories of hospital staff right from Doctors, Nurses and Administrators to Radiographers, Lab Technicians and other Support Staff to become active participants in the Quality Improvement of their respective Hospitals.

This course was conducted at the Sankara Nethralaya main campus every Saturday afternoon, between 3pm and 6pm over the next 12 weeks.

The Course was well received with senior management Personnel like Directors, Medical Professionals, Management Executives from reputed healthcare institutions both domestic enrolling in it.

A few testimonials on the course from successful candidates

Dear Sir,
Thank you so much for the coordination you have given to me during the course.
Ms Metilda,
Nursing Supdt,
PES Institute of Medical Science & Research, Kuppam, Andra Pradesh

Dear Mr. Mahalingam,      Good Morning!
I really appreciate the idea and commitment in conducting such courses. I should agree that doctors besides being clinicians must undergo training on quality, hospital management, etc . The course content and time scheduling was very good. Integrating project work has really added value.
Once again appreciate and complement that I and my colleagues have been benefited. Please do keep us updated about other programmes for us to enroll
Dr. Santa MD, Basavatarakam cancer Hospital, Hydrabad, AP

Many thank Mr. Mahalingam.  We enjoyed the course very much.  Being an online candidate, few suggestions:1)  Speakers to stand in one place – ovement and hand movements gave lot of artefacts on video and diverted attention a bit.
2) Slides and contents were very good.  Narratives/Examples given were very good by some speakers but standardisation of these examples for future may be beneficial.
All in all, excellent and would recommend to others.
Thank you.
Dr. Suma,PES Institute of Medical Science & Research, Kuppam, Andra Pradesh

Dear Mahalingam Sir,

My sincere appreciation and gratitude to you, Sir, for all your efforts in making the program as successful as it was. Effective communication is not easy, but you have managed it so well with not just me, but with our whole group. Never once during the entire course of study did I have to send you any reminder or query. It was all well answered even before a doubt could develop in our minds! The course content was also extremely well structured. It was a privilege for me to be able to listen to and learn from stalwarts in the quality field. A special word of appreciation for your organizing skills in arranging the sessions without any delay or interruption, every Saturday, at the pre-planned hours, without fail, throughout the course duration.

The course is over, but I cherish our friendship and hope it will last a life time.

Thanking you

Yours Sincerely
Ms.Sandhya Mahadevan
GM, PRS Hospital Pvt. Ltd.
(Student of SN Academy, CCHQM course )

The Sankara Nethralaya Academy adds “affiliation on mentoring skills” feather to its cap

The Sankara Nethralaya Academy(TSNA) a unit of Medical Research Foundation, Chennai has been affiliated to Healthcare Sector Skill Council, a unit of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Govt. of India, as an authorized Vocational Training Provider for the job role REFRACTIONIST and MEDICAL LAB TECHNICIAN.

Consequently, we can train all our students for final assessment & certification by NSDC and the successful students will get a cash reward of Rs.10,000 from them. TSNA is planning to offer such training modules to outsiders and go in for affiliation for additional job roles, enhancing employability.

High level recognition, participation and discussions mark the 2nd Annual Convention by the Sankara Nethralaya ONGC Genetics & Molecular Biology Department

The Sankara Nethralaya ONGC Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology a key research department in the Kamalnayan Bajaj Institute for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the research arm of Sankara Nethralaya, engaged in the in-depth study of genes and their influence, for better diagnosis of ocular ailments by providing preventive/curative Medicare through gene mapping and candidate screen screening conducted its 2nd annual convention, as a symposium on ‘Sanger to Next Generation Sequencing- The Genomics Era”. The two day symposium enlightened students, research scholars, scientists, clinicians and counselors involved in healthcare on why ‘genome analysis’ as a process is vital in clinical decision making, prognosis and personalized medicine. The symposium offered an in-depth coverage of the areas of mapping and candidate gene screening, current trends of molecular diagnosis and the clinical significance of gene testing, through the gold standard ‘Sanger sequencing’ to the most robust Next Generation Sequencing platforms, through in-depth lectures by eminent scholars and experts in the field.

The significance of this high power event could be gauged by the fact that it was sponsored by the nation’s major research regulating bodies namely the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and was attended by legends from the scientific and research community like Professor T.Ramasami, Former Secretary, Department of Science and Technology and Professor Samir. K.Brahmachari, Founder- Director, CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology.

The two day symposium got off to an auspicious start with an invocation by Dr. Srividya. Extending a warm welcome to the dignitaries and participants Dr Sripriya of the SN ONGC Department observed that the field of genetics may be classified into three defined time frames namely ‘Classic Era’ ‘DNA Era’ and the ‘Transition to genomics era’. She hailed the advent of newer technologies in the form of Next Generation Sequencing platform and described that the two day symposium would be a feast on genomics impact. Giving an overview of the symposium Dr A.Jayamuruga Pandian, Reader & Head SN ONGC Dept. of Genetics and Molecular Biology started off by reading a felicitation and greeting message from Prof. Vishwa Mohan Khatoch, Secretary, Department of Health and Director General of ICMR who was unable to attend the function owing to unavoidable and pressing commitments. Dr. Pandian highlighted the relevance and progress made by the SN ONGC department through its role in pre and post genetic rehabilitation, counseling/Diagnosis and migration to Sanger to Next generation sequencing the gold standard in genetic research. He listed the milestone publications from the dept, collaborations with leading educational universities and affiliations. Dr. Pandian ended his talk with the observation that the future plan of the department is to start a Post Graduate course in genetic counseling and Gene Therapy.

Dr. Ronnie George, Director Research, Kamalnayan Bajaj Institute for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology gave a most absorbing account of the in-depth research being carried out in each of the eight research departments in the premises including the enchanting basic and clinical research using MOOKP which enabled tissues from the tooth to be used to treat ocular surface disorders. Speaking on the occasion Dr. SS.Badrinath, Founder & Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya expressed that he is a clinician and not a basic scientist, he welcomed and thanked Dr. S.Ramasami, Prof. Samir Brahmachari, Shri. Arul Ramanathan from ONGC, Shri. Muthu Karuppan from Singapore and all the distinguished participants gathered on the occasion, he gave a brief overview of the activities of the KNBIRVO and how the support from the government, NGO’s and philanthropic individuals and corporate bodies helped to carry out its research activities in a sustained and focused manner.

Guest of Honour Professor Ramasami, a long time friend and well wisher of Sankara Nethralaya started his address on a lighter vein that he had to cancel his scheduled engagement at the Leather Exhibition being organized in the city on the same day, to be present at the function with his comment ‘You cannot say no when Dr. SS.Badrinath invites you’ a fact which the hosts of the function, the organizers of the leather fair agreed too, he added. He observed that his presence along with Prof. Samir Brahmachari symbolized the title of the symposium ‘from Sanger to NGS’ as he belonged to the Sanger era and Prof Brahmachari belonged to the New Generation Sequencing era, he credited the latter with not only ushering the NGS era but better research and clinical care through it. Dr. Ramasami observed that India with a very diverse gene pool, population density and a high number of health ailments provided the ideal platform for genetic study; he closed his talk with best wishes for the success of the two day symposium, adding that every year the event should aim towards bringing people together, working together and finding solutions together.

The two day symposium witnessed in-depth and well researched speeches on the various facets of genetics and what it holds for the future by experts in the field. A highlight of the session was a most touching and entertaining cultural program by ‘Comaganin Ragapriya’ an orchestra by the differently abled which helped participants to unwind and relax in the midst of the hectic proceedings.