March 2022

Lion S. N. Harinarayanan receives Service Above Self Award from the Tamil Nadu Ophthalmic Association

One of Sankara Nethralaya’s most steadfast supporters and well-wishers, Lion S. N. Harinarayanan has devoted his life to making the lives of the less fortunate better. He received the Service Above Self Award by the Tamilnadu Ophthalmic Association on 20th March, 2022, instituted  by the Tamil Nadu Ophthalmic Association.

Lion S. N. Harinarayanan joined Lions Club of Central Madras in 1986, with the sole objective of serving the community and reaching out to as many people as possible.

In 1998, under his leadership, the Lions Club of Central Madras championed the cause of fighting blindness. Having started with a LCIF Grant for  upgrading the facilities of the Community wing at Sankara Nethralaya, to increase the number of free Cataract surgeries performed under the ‘Reach Out program’, he was instrumental in  the project and in increasing the number of surgeries being performed from 4,500 to 10,000 over a period of 24 months.

Lion S. N. Harinarayanan’s resolve to dedicate his life to fighting blindness was cemented when he witnessed the impact the community services project had on the patients.

He and Lions Club of Central Madras, worked with Sankara Nethralaya, playing a vital role in facilitating funds and helping in upgrading of the equipment.

He was responsible for organizing eye screening camps in the economically weaker neighborhoods of Chennai and the neighboring villages.  He was instrumental in identifying people with vision problems, bringing them to the base hospital for a comprehensive examination, arranging the required treatment, and facilitating their return journey.  This end-to-end eye care approach has been developed into the complete community care services rendered by the Sankara Nethralaya Jaslok Community Ophthalmic Center.

Till date, Lion S. N. Harinarayanan and Lions Club of Central Madras has been responsible for organizing over 800 camps, facilitating 12,500 cataract surgeries and more than 1,500 other eye surgeries.

In 2003, his passion and dedication to Sight First got him involved in a three-year project of Lion’s Club of Central Madras for Screening & Treating of Diabetic Retinopathy.

Again, a LCIF Funded Project spread over Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Villuppuram and Tiruvannamalai, created awareness about Diabetic Retinopathy, and facilitated screening camps for detection and treatment to avoid further loss of vision.  The scope of the project extended to a training program for ophthalmologists working in Lions Eye Hospitals across India for screening and treating diabetic retinopathy.

Lion S. N. Harinarayanan’s  contribution in the fight against preventable blindness has been recognized by many and his accolades include the Friend of Humanity’ Award from the Lions Clubs International Foundation in 2008-2009; ‘Helping Hands’ Award from the Lions Clubs International Foundation in 2009-2010, and many International President’s appreciation certificates, multiple  and district  certificates

Sankara Nethralaya has also awarded this dedicated and selfless philanthropist for propagating the need and necessity for eye donation and also for motivating many to donate their Cornea at the time of death.

Sankara Nethralaya salutes Lion S. N. Harinarayanan, a true champion in the fight against preventable blindness in our community for Service Above Self.

Lifting Off with Shri Taraprasad Das

Dr. Taraprasad Das, distinguished ophthalmologist, specializing in vitreoretinal diseases gave one of his rare and enlightened talks in Sri VD Swami Auditorium, on March 18th, 2022.  He is the former Vice-Chairman of the L. V. Prasad Eye Institute. He had worked 10 years in Aravind Eye Hospital and 31 years in LVPEI and is the ex-director of LV Prasad Eye Institute, Bhubaneswar.  Dr. Rajiv Raman, Senior Consultant, Department of Vitreoretinal services, opened the event with a brief introduction of Dr. Taraprasad Das’ numerous accomplishments and achievements during his four decade long career in eye care.   

Dr. Taraprasad Dass has completed many papers in the diabetic retinopathy sub-specialty, delivered 13 named lectures, has received many awards from state, national societies and international organizations.  He was the longest serving Regional Chairman of International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Southeast Asia from 2012 – 2020.  He was awarded the Padma Shri – the highest civilian honor – by Government of India, in 2013.  Dr. Rajiv Raman reminisced that when Dr. Taraprasad Das had visited Sankara Nethralaya, Dr. S. S. Badrinath took Dr. Taraprasad around the hospital and our distinguished guest had observed that Sankara Nethralaya was indeed a temple.  He then invited Dr. Taraprasad Das on stage to introduce the theme of “Lift Off’ to the eagerly waiting audience.

Dr. Taraprasad Das reminisced about his early days in Madras where he met many of Sankara Nethralaya’s senior consultants such as Dr. Surendran, Dr. Lingam Gopal, Dr. Muna and Dr. Pramod Bhende.  He spoke about his early days in Boston and thinking about how to ‘lift off’ – a terminology from aviation.   He took his life lessons from mentors who influenced his decisions and helped him lift off.

He drew life lessons from his extensive experiences with the many wonderful people he met throughout his 41 years as an ophthalmologist and gained much experience through his work with national and international government collaborations.  

He explained the importance of public speaking, expressing oneself in a clear manner, and touched on personal growth, while simultaneously making time for family – an important factor in becoming a well-rounded person.  He touched on the necessity to identify in which areas, we should aim to achieve – whether monetarily, research, or work.  He explained that by examining one’s mistakes, we grow professionally and personally.  He urged the young audience members to be committed not just compliant and reminded them to do for each patient what they would do for their relatives.

You can listen to Dr. Taraprasad Das here:

Sankara Nethralaya’s Women’s Day 2022 Celebrations

To mark International Women’s Day, 8th March, 2022, the institution held a small celebratory gathering for the ladies of Sankara Nethralaya in KBIRVO block at around 4pm. After a gap of nearly 3 years, a Rangoli competition for the artists of SN to show their talents and a lucky draw were organised.

There were many enthusiastic participants and the judges could only choose 3 winners for the Rangoli competition.

First prize in the Rangoli competition went to Dr. Durga Priyadarshini S., Consultant, and Dr. Padmalakshmi K., Associate Consultant from the Department of Neuro Ophthalmology.

Second prize went to Ms. Indhu P., Optometrist, and Ms. Tharakeswari T., Senior Executive, of Department of General Optometry.

Third Prize went to Ms. Jeba Cynthia J. E., Lecturer, and Ms. Vaishnavi V., Business Development Executive, TSNA.

The ladies who won the Lucky Draw were Ramani Bai S., Staff Nurse, Dr. Veena Noronha, Radiologist, Ms. Sandhiya A., Ophthalmic Nursing Assistant, Ms. Nithyadevi S., Senior Executive, Out Patient Services, and Ms. Sumana Nandi, Deputy Manager from Department of Quality Management, SN Kolkata.

The event was a well‐deserved opportunity for the busy ladies of Sankara Nethralaya to unwind and give wing to their creativity.

Sankara Nethralaya holds 32nd Institutional Awards Ceremony

The 32nd Institutional Awards Ceremony was held on Saturday, 05th March, 2022 in V.D. Swami Auditorium.  After more than 2 years, parents and families of the students were able to attend the Institutional Awards ceremony and the V D. Auditorium was packed.

The ceremony began with the procession led by Dr. Anuradha, Principal, Dr. Rashima A., HOD- Occupational Optometry Services, and Assistant Professor (ESO), Dr. S. Vishwanathan, HOD- Optometry and Optical Services, Elite School of Optometry, Dr. Anand A. R., Senior Associate Professor and In-charge – Microbiology, Sri Nathella Sampathu Chetty Clinical Laboratory Services, Dr. Ronnie George, President & Director – Research, Director of Glaucoma Services, Dr. Smita Praveen, Director of Academics, Professor Lieutenant – Colonel Dr. Arunachalam Ravikumar, Pro-Vice- Chancellor, Medical & Health Sciences, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Dr. T. S. Surendran, Vice Chairman & Director Pediatric Ophthalmology, Dr. Girish S. Rao, President, and Dr. N. Angayarkanni, Director, Laboratory Services. The Ph. D guides joining these distinguished members of the medical fraternity on the stage were Dr. S. Krishna Kumar, Chief Scientist & Professor, Histopathology Lab, Dr. Umashankar, Dr. K. Koraila Kurian, Dr.Sailaja Elchuri, Senior Principal Scientist / Associate Professor Nanotechnology Lab, and Dr. Jyotirmay Biswas, Director of Uvea Services.

Mr. Durairaj, Ph. D Scholar, rendered the invocation song.  Dr. N. Angayarkanni then welcomed the gathering with an encouraging speech to the students graduating this year. She paid her respects to Dr. S. S. Badrinath, and Dr. (Mrs.) Vasanthi Badrinath.  She welcomed Dr. Girish S. Rao and thanked him for enabling ceremony to move to the real world from the virtual.  Dr. Angayarkanni extended a warm welcome to Dr. T. S. Surendran, the honorable Chief Guest, Dr. Arunachalam Ravikumar, and all the academicians and the Ph.D guides to the awards ceremony

Dr. Anuradha, Principal – ESO, presented the academic report for July 2020-June 2021. The first batch of Post graduates and 27 undergraduates of Elite School of Optometry in collaboration with SASTRA deemed university are the 32nd batch passing out of ESO.  All of whom have found career placements. Post graduate students, Ms. Mehal and Ms. Jannet won the award for best paper presentation and best case report in the India Vision Institute conference, Dr. Rashima received Best Case Report award from the Optometry Council of India, and Dr. Anuradha N. received the Outstanding Contributions to the Public Health award from the Optometry Council of India.  ESO published three science indexed publications in the fields of community ophthalmology, occupational optometry, and Contact Lens.  The ESO staff, students, and educators collaborated on conducting over 10 eye screening camps in rural areas.   Dr. Anuradha N. went on to report the many activities carried out by ESO in spite of the difficulties over the past couple of years.

Then, Dr. Rashima, introduced the Chief Guest, Professor Lt Col Arunachalam Ravikumar MS, Dip NB, DLORCS (England), FRCS (Glasgow), FAMS, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Medical & Health Sciences, SRM Institute of Science and Technology.  Dr. Rashima condensed his impressive 40-page long resume into a two-minute introductory speech.

Dr. Girish S. Rao, President presented the Chief Guest with a welcome gift.  Prof Lt Col Arunachalam Ravikumar took the podium to thank everyone for the honour of addressing the gathering, and he specially thanked the Board of Trustees, Dr. Anuradha N. and Dr. T. S. Surendran.  Prof. Arunachalam reminded students that they were fortunate to study during a time of technological advancements that gave them an advantage in treating their patients. He reminisced about his early years of medical practice and the advances in ophthalmology over the years.  He applauded Sankara Nethralaya for bringing the retinal implant to Indians without disparity.  He encouraged the outgoing students to treat the patient as a whole and keep the patient’s welfare at the forefront. Professor Lt Col Arunachalam Ravikumar concluded his address by thanking everyone once again.

Thereafter, Dr. A. R. Anand, presented the academic activities of the Vidyasagar Institute of Biomedical Technology and Sciences (VIBS) between July 2020 and June 2021.  VIBS was established in 2006 to promote biomedical sciences and biomedical technologies with a generous donation by the Late Padma Shri Iravadam Mahadevan in memory of his son, the Late Shri Vidyasagar.  This academic year, VIBS had 5 Ph.D. Degree Awardees, 4 under the SASTRA deemed to be University, Thanjavur and one under Anna University, Chennai.  Of these, 3 of the candidates were present to receive the award and two were given in absentia.  In the past two decades, Sankara Nethralaya produced 72 PhDs in basic sciences who are shining in all corners of the world.  VIBS boasts of 595 publications in basic medical sciences in the last 2 decades.  The awards were distributed by Dr. Girish S. Rao and the Chief Guest to the ecstatic students.  Dr. A. R. Anand concluded this part of the ceremony by wishing the new PH.Ds the very best for their future.

Click here for list of VIBS awardees

The undergraduates of the Elite School of Optometry rendered the Optometry Oath led by Dr. Viswanathan S., HOD- Optometry services and Assistant Professor, ESO.  Dr. Anuradha N., then invited Prof. Arunachalam to present the newly minted graduates with their Master’s degree certificates.  Ms. Karthiga, M.Optom, delivered a moving and stirring valedictory speech on behalf of the post graduate class, while Ms. Vinodhini delivered the valedictory speech on behalf of the undergraduates.

Dr. Anuradha N. then announced the ESO endowment awards, which were presented by Prof Arunachalam, Dr. T. S. Surendran, and Dr. Rashima.

Click here for list of Elite School of Optometry awardees

Dr. Smita Praveen, Director of Academics, presented the Institutional Awards. Dr. Sheila John, PhD, HoD – Teleophthalmology, was also honored on stage by her guide, Dr. Jyotirmay Biswas. The institutional awards were handed out by Dr. Girish S. Rao, Dr. T. S. Surendran, Dr. Ronnie George and Prof. Arunachalam.

Click here for list of Institutional Awards 2021

The ceremony concluded with Dr. Vishwanathan’s vote of thanks.  He extolled the outgoing students and awardees to remember and uphold the values of their alma mater. He thanked the staff and students for making the event a grand success.