April 2018

The ‘Temple of the eye’ takes a giant step in its journey of ‘Service to Mankind’

The 23rd of April 2018 was a ‘Red Letter Day’ for an institution that came into existence with one simple objective ‘Serving mankind and alleviating suffering of the masses through quality eye care’ it was the day the institution made an auspicious and blessed step towards fulfilling a long time dream, a most cherished dream and also a very ambitious dream. The institution started on the principle of serving eye care totally cost free and with a personal touch to poor patients, had over the 4 decades of its service reached a position of pride wherein it treated  50% of its out patients and performed 35% of its surgeries totally cost free, its cost free eye care initiatives had also recorded magnificent outreach, with quality eye care being dispensed to poor patients in inaccessible, remote regions like the deep interiors of the Sunderbans in West Bengal, Vellimalai Hills in Tamil Nadu and more recently in the tribal regions of Singhbum in the State of Jharkand. Building and operating a large, well equipped and easily accessible community hospital, dedicated exclusively to cost free treatment to indigent patients remained a collective dream of the institution. The idea was to have a State of the Art facility which would cater to a large number of walk-in patients, serve as a referral base hospital to patients screened at the outdoor camps, where they could be brought provided boarding, lodging and free treatment, a place where the institution’s community outreach vehicle including the MESU (MOBILE EYE SURGICAL UNIT) could be parked between their trips.

The biggest and first challenge in starting such a large facility, the availability of a large tract of land, in an accessible part of the city was solved when in a most generous and thoughtful gesture Mrs Kausalya Appukutty, Volunteer- Sankara Nethralaya Auxiliary Services (SWAN) made available the same totally cost free at the Dr VG. Appukutty Campus, named in honour of her late husband and generous supporter of Sankara Nethralaya, from where the CU Shah Sankara Nethralaya and the Elite School of Optometry function. The Bhumi puja for the facility was held with traditional piety with the chanting of mantras, vedic hymns and Homam at the proposed site, in the presence of a large number of friends, well wishers and employees. Srimathi Anuradha Narayan, lecturer at the ESO extended a warm welcome to the attendees and expressed the institution’s deep gratitude to Ms Voltas, Ms Infosys, Ms Trent Ltd, the Rahm Sitaraman family, USA and long time friend and supporter Shri Iravatham Mahadevan for their generous donation which would serve as the critical ‘Seed’ capital for the new initiative. Speaking on the occasion Col Raghavan, Director-Projects and chief architect of the  initiative observed that the institution was able to embark on a ‘not for profit’ facility with such a high capital outlay only because corporate  houses and individual donors open their purses generously when Dr SS.Badrinath the institution’s founder makes an appeal for support.

In a moment that captured the spirit of the day, special guest of the event Shri Iravatham Mahadevan expressed that if only he had been 10 years younger he would have visited every home in the locality to mobilize funds for the noble endeavour, the fact that the octogenarian had already made an appeal to the families in his apartment complex became apparent when a co-resident from the complex expressed that every family in the complex would donate towards this noble cause. This was followed by presenting of donation cheques by Srimathi Surekha Mehta, on behalf of SWAN and by Mr Sanjay who operates the staff canteen at the VG Appukutty campus.

Greeting the gathering on the occasion well known Litterateur and Editor of popular Tamil magazine ‘Amudhasurabhi’ Shri Thirupur Krishnan, a friend and well wisher recalled the glorious days when he served under Shri Iravatham Mahadevan, a highly principled civil servant, he observed that as a hospital which would be serving the masses it would only be appropriate that it is funded by donations from the common man, he drew a parallel of the same by narrating how Swami Vivekaanda wanted his trip to the World Congress of Religions in Chicago, to be funded by small donations from the common man and not by a few wealthy donors, as he was representing the entire nation.

Speakng on the occasion Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus and Founder, Sankara Nethralaya expressed his thanks to all who had assembled and the team working on the project, he had a special word of thanks to Srimathi Kausalya Appukutty, member SWAN for making available the land, without which the project could not have been envisaged. He welcomed and expressed his thanks to special guests Shri Iravatham Mahadevan and Brigadier VS.Joon, Station Commander and President Cantonment Board, for his critical role in obtaining the necessary sanctions and permits for the proposed building, from the Army authorities.

Students from the ESO rise magnificently to a knowledge exposition challenge of global proportions!

Future Ocular Research Creativity Event

FORCE (Future Ocular Research Creativity Event)was a competition that had every element that goes to make a high profile knowledge evaluation exercise, the sponsor was among the biggest names in contact lens and visual aids and it was a national competition which would propel the winner into the highly charged world of European optometry. Students of the Elite School of Optometry known for their capacity to pull up their socks in short notice and prove their mettle, rose admirably to the occasion, reiterating beyond all doubt that they are indeed a ‘Force’ to reckon with in their field!

We take pleasure in sharing a spirited,step by step, first person account of the competition and how Jude Remedios Menezes the star performer from the ESO made his way to the European Finals at Budapest, Hungary.

The National round of the cooper vision force presentation was held on 2th of March, 2018 at the Orchid Hotel in Mumbai. A team of 5 Members, namely, Akshara, P Gaurav, PoojaNandagopal, VivekSuganthan R and Jude R Menezes represented the Elite School of Optometry at this prestigious, First of its Kind National Contest. This team was accompanied by its mentor and guide, Dr Rajeshwari M – The contact Lens stalwart faculty from ESO.

This Contest required from the participating students, a presentation of a Research Study, Case Report or a Review article to be judged by a team of three well renowned clinicians in the field.

In the preparatory stages, Dr JameelRizwana, Dr Viswanathan, Ms Rinu Thomas and Mr Asif Iqbal played a significant role in addition to the core Guidance from Dr Rajeswari in mentoring of the participating students who worked hard to streamline their presentation slides and skills within the time constraints that this contest had demanded.

After a week of intense study and practice the team was flown to Mumbai in the early hours of the day of the presentation and delivered their best.

Gaurav presented his research results on the “Impact of introducing Comfilcon A spherical soft contact lens at a tertiary eye care centre- A retrospective Review( 2015-2018)”, Akshara presented a Case Series on “ comparison of subjects with RGP and soft torric contact lenses”, Vivek and Pooja teamed up to present a review on “Toric Soft Lens Stabilization: Is it Stabalized? ” and finally Jude presented  a review on the “Success of the soft contact lens market: How new techniques, Tests and Instruments can help?”.

The results couldn’t have been more in consistence with the quality of the presentation, with the Elite School stealing bragging rights with the best presentations of the Day.

Jude’s Presentation made him the country winner and won him a ticket to Budapest, Hungary to compete for the title ‘European FORCE winner- 2018’ at the International Cooper vision Future Ocular Research Creativity Event(FORCE).

All in all, right from the very start, the trip proved to be a memorable experience for the students and provided them with a rare exposure to presentation at a professional level, boosting their self-confidence and enhancing their exposure to the soft contact lens industry.

The students and their mentors take this opportunity to thank the management of SankaraNethralaya for this rare opportunity of participating in a high level competition and for their constant encouragement and support

The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its hearties congratulations to the ESO team consisting of the participating students and their mentors for keeping the SN flag flying high and conveys its very best wishes to Jude Remedios Menezes in his single minded pursuit towards winning the  ‘European Force winner – 2018’