Vision Enhancement Clinic

World sight day – Vision Screening Program Pediatric optometry and Vision Enhancement clinic

On the occasion of World Sight Day, the Department of Pediatric Optometry and Vision Enhancement Clinic initiated an eye screening camp at the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD). This program was conducted under the guidance of Dr. Rashima and led by Ms. Tharakeswari, Senior Optometrist, between October 16 and 17, 2023.

The screening program began with a small inauguration ceremony attended by Shri Nachiketa Rout, Director & Administration, Dr. Amarnath from the Department of Medical Science, and Dr. Vijayalakshmi, a Pediatrician. During the function, Ms. Tharakeswari explained the importance of vision screening in children with special needs.

As many as 127 children with cross-disabilities and neurodevelopmental disorders, ranging between the ages of one and 20 were screened. Among them, 30 children were referred to our hospital for further evaluation and management, while 11 children were directed to the Vision Enhancement Clinic for rehabilitation.

The screening team consisted of Ms. Libiya, a Vision Rehab Specialist, Optometrists Ms. Gowsalya, Ms. Dhanalakshmi, Ms. Indira, Ms. Praveena, Ms. Nikitha, Ms. Karthika (TSNA Low Vision Fellowship student) and ESO Optometry Internship students Mr. Hariharan, Ms. Jayasanthiya, Ms. Dharshini.

Inauguration of Amiya Kumar Ghosh Vision-Aid Resource Centre – Vision Enhancement Clinic, SN- Rajarhat, Newtown

The Amiya Kumar Ghosh Vision-Aid Resource Centre – Vision Enhancement Clinic (VEC), SN- Rajarhat, Newtown was inaugurated on 31st December 2022 by Col Tapas Saha Roy, Medical Superintendent, SNK – Rajarhat. This Vision Enhancement Clinic is a joint collaboration with Vision Aid and was dedicated in memory of Shri Amiya Kumar Ghosh of Kolkota by his family in India, USA, and Australia.

This new centre is the only one of its kind in the Eastern part of India and its aim is to restore optimal vision function to patients through early intervention. Mrs Sapna Saxena, Donor, inaugurated the centre. The importance of such a centre to serve the patients in the Eastern parts of India was pointed out during the event.

The event was attended by Mr Arijit Ghosh and Mr Bijan Mukhopadhyay, donors, Mr V L Narasimhan, Executive Director of Vision Aid India, and Mr Ankit Deb, Vision Aid Volunteer. Also present were Sankara Nethralaya family, Kolkata kDr Sujatha Guha, Medical Director, Dr Suchetana Mukherjee, Deputy Director, Rajarhat, Col Tapas Saha Roy, Medical Superintendent, Ms Bony Das, Manager Administration, Rajarhat, and Mrs Payel Das Ghatak, Head of Department of Optometry.

A Well-trained Vision Rehabilitation Specialist guides patients on visual stimulation and developmental therapies, and treat a variety of visual impairments such as visual information perception, visual behaviours, visual acuity and eye-coordination, and eye movement (saccadic and pursuit).

Vision Rehabilitation is intended to improve the quality of life of many patients with visual impairment and other brain dysfunctions.

The Vision Enhancement Clinic is located at Sankara Nethralaya, New Town, (Premises No 253333,Plot No – DJ/16 ,Action Area : 1D. New Town, Rajarhat, Kolkata).

Mr Arijit Ghosh: Donor
Mrs Sapna Saxena: Donor
Mr Bijan Mukhopadhyay: Donor
Mr V L Narasimhan: Executive Director of Vision Aid India
Mr Ankit Deb: Vision Aid Volunteer
Dr Sujatha Guha: Medical Director Kolkata
Dr Suchetana Mukherjee: Deputy Director Rajarhat
Col Tapas Saha Roy: Medical Superintendent
Ms Bony Das: Manager Administration Rajarhat
Mrs Payel Das Ghatak: Head of Department Optometry kolkata
Mr Venkata Ramanan Ramasethu: Academic Incharge Optometry kolkata
Ms Shalini Sen: Optometrist
Mr Anik Sarkar: Optometrist

Giving Smart Vision to the Visually Impaired

Sankara Nethralaya in collaboration with Vision Aid, an international NGO working for the welfare of the visually impaired and the US based NGO, Trees for Life India, distributed 20 Smart Vision Glasses in the type of a Spectacle, for the Visually Impaired on 25th June 2022 at Sankara Nethralaya Main facility.  Vision-Aid is a long-term partner with Sankara Nethralaya, collaborating on various vision rehabilitation programs including the programs and also skill development programs by the Vision Enhancement Clinic (VEC) at Sankara Nethralaya’s Shenoy Nagar campus.

The Smart Vision devices were presented to twenty visually impaired beneficiaries who are patients of the Low Vision Care Clinic (LVC) and VEC.  The Smart Vision Glasses is an assistive device for the Visually Impaired and the blind.  The device uses the latest technologies in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Machine Vision to facilitate smooth execution of daily living tasks and enables the visually impaired to become aware of their surroundings, read a book in many Indian languages known to them, and provides walking assistance, etc.

The Chief Guest at the event was Mr.  C.  Govindakrishnan, the founder of Nethrodaya, also a visually impaired person.  He spoke about his childhood spent visiting Sankara Nethralaya and his struggles through every step of his schooling, college education and onwards.  He expressed his gratitude towards his family and SN family for being there every step of his journey.

The event for the distribution of the Smart Vision Glasses was graced by Mr VL Narasimhan, Voluntary Member Secretary, Mr Vijay Francis, Program Director, Ms Gargee Dutta, National Program Manager, and Ms Vineetha, Head of Training from Vision Aid India. Mr Ibrahim represented Mr. Ramu Muthangi, CEO of SHG Technologies and gave a brief introduction of the Smart Vision Devices. Dr Rashima A, Head of VEC briefed on the services offered at the Shenoy Nagar campus.

Several of the beneficiaries shared their experiences and thanked SN, LVC, and VEC for their unstinting support and hard work for the visually impaired community.  Ms. Gayathri who has completed her B. ED has been coming to Vision Enhancement Clinic since she was 4 years old.         Mr. S. H. Rao was a recent visitor to the VEC and spoke enthusiastically of the tireless efforts of all the staff who had helped him conquer his disability.

Dr. Girish S. Rao, President, Medical Research Foundation, and Mr. C.  Govindarajan distributed the smart vision devices to the beneficiaries.  Also present to encourage the beneficiaries were Lion.  Harinarayanan, Dr. Anuradha N., Principal of Elite School of Optometry, and Dr. Anuja Singh, Principal of The Sankara Nethralaya Academy.

A Smart Move by Sankara Nethralaya and Vision-Aid

Sankara Nethralaya and Vision-Aid, an international NGO that works for the welfare of the visually impaired, are long-term partners, collaborating on various vision rehabilitation programs including running the Vision Enhancement Clinic (VEC) at Sankara Nethralaya’s Shenoy Nagar campus. In partnership with the India-based NGO Trees for Life India, Vision-Aid gave away 10 smartphones to visually impaired patients of the Low Vision Care Clinic (LVC) and VEC at Sankara Nethralaya main campus in Chennai on Oct 28th 2021.

In the first phase of a much larger rollout, ten visually impaired deserving patients of the LVC and the VEC were given smartphones in a small event. The phone distribution event was a closed group event in accordance with the continuing guidelines against the COVID19 pandemic. The event also serves to encourage optometrists and rehabilitation specialists with knowledge of the latest smartphone apps.

Dr. Girish S. Rao, President, Dr. T. S. Surendran, Vice- Chairman, Dr. Pramod Bhende, Director of Vitreo-Retina Services, Dr B Shantha, Senior Consultant – Glaucoma Services, Mr. V. L. Narasimhan and Mr. Vijay Francis from Vision-Aid, India attended the ceremony.

An intensive training schedule jointly conducted by Sankara Nethralaya and Vision-Aid to assist the beneficiaries will follow this event. The training schedule aims at teaching the beneficiaries to use the smart phones and assistive mobile apps efficiently to overcome the daily challenges of the visually challenged.

Though there are many sophisticated mobile apps freely available for modern smartphones, few are aware of their existence and know how to use them to improve their day-to-day living.

Smart phone companies have poured a lot of money into creating very powerful technology in today’s smart phones, such as AI-based apps that help blind users see objects around them, navigation apps that help the visually challenged to navigate safely, and learning apps that connect to a range of digital resources for learning and education. Through such apps, smart phones can become like constant, personal companions, helping to enable, educate and empower the blind and visually impaired to live with independence and dignity.

Activities for children with visual impairment and multiple disabilities

visual impairment and multiple disabilities

Like flowers, every child is special and unique. They bring a magical bliss and happiness like how a variety of flowers make a heavenly garden. This has been well proven through the group activities program for the children with visual impairment and multiple disabilities (VIMD) at the “Vision Enhancement Clinic (VEC)” located at the Shenoy Nagar campus of SankaraNethralaya, Chennai. The clinic which works for the empowerment of patients with visual impairment strives to provide all possible services beyond the regular rehabilitation routines, as the patients received here are not seen as individuals with impairment but as a part of their families who struggle to shoulder the loss.

And particularly for the children with VIMD, the clinic offers a wide range of individualized therapy programs such as visual developmental therapy, sensory integration therapy, special education, behavior modification and fine motor stimulation therapy to enhance their functional level as much as possible. But the VEC team wanted to push the line beyond that therefore initiated the group activities sessions for the children with VIMD to experience socialization, group learning, creative art, sharing, taking turns, listening to instructions, winning and losing, music and movements, a bunch of socio-emotional elements to which they are not exposed because of their developmental disorders. On the other end, the parents of such children have been provided with a supportive platform to learn, share their experiences, and strengthen themselves to manage the condition of their children.

The session comprises meet and greet for social skills; creative art therapy for multi-sensory stimulation and sharing; visual skills and eye-hand coordination activities; circle time game for turn taking, listening skills, behavior correction, concept of ‘win & lose’; music & movement for auditory, vestibular, proprioceptive coordination, spatial awareness and recreation. The VEC team has conducted 2 such group activities sessions successfully in the month of July, 2019 and going to conduct the sessions on weekly basis with the overwhelming and encouraging responses from the parents and the children.

visual impairment and multiple disabilities

visual impairment and multiple disabilities

Adults’ supportivegroup

Empowerment of persons with visual impairment defines the complete functional independency and self-reliance in all aspects of their life. The whole process doesn’t come to end without enabling them to compete in the society and to become successful contributors of the nation. In this way, the “Vision Enhancement Clinic” of Sankara Nethralaya is conducting weekly adults’ supportive group meet for the young adult patients with visual impairment. The motto behind this initiation is to promote accessible technology, communication skills, personality development, knowledge sharing, resource exchange, confidence level, leadership qualities, volunteering and awareness on Government concessions. The young adults with visual impairment are getting the opportunity to overcome their depression by interacting each other and able to explore themselves into carrier building options. The participants expressed their pleasure in means of laughter, applauses during the meetings and by volunteering to motivate the new patients who comes with depression.

The meeting is conducted as three sessions as follows:

  • Update on accessible technology – to share and learn about computer and mobile assistive software,
  • Knowledge sharing – to share and discuss about the options for higher studies, job fairs, talking books, educational devices, and learning materials for competitive exams,
  • Quiz and debate – to keep them updated on global events, current affairs, constitutional policies, scientific facts, general knowledge and to develop group communication skills which are essential for professional competency.

A ray of hope to those living in a world of darkness

Low Vision Clinic

As an institution committed to service and alleviation of suffering, Sankara Nethralaya has often ventured outside the confines of diagnosis and clinical care of ophthalmic ailments. Initiatives like starting a computer syndrome clinic, developing the Train your eye software, Low Vision Clinic, Customized eye shell fabrication etc are relief measures that may not fall directly in the ambit of ophthalmology but nevertheless help the in enhancing vision and adapting to  a normal life. The institution inaugurated the Vision Enhancement Clinic (VEC) at the Smt Lakshmi Ammal &Smt Alamelu Ammal Sankara Nethralaya complex at Shenoy Nagar as a major step towards alleviating pain and handicap of the visually impaired by rehabilitating them through enabling, educating and empowering in association with leaders in the field across the counter The centre would strive towards enabling the visually impaired lead an independent and safe life through a combination of well planned intervention processes consisting of counselling, education/vocational guidance, skill imparting, special skills training for students, assistive technology training. The intervention process is tailor made not only to address the challenges of the visually impaired but to help their families in making their life more comfortable. A major highlight of the Vision Enhancement Clinic is the ‘Early intervention services’ for children in the age group of (0-30 with congenital neurological conditions and developmental disabilities where children are assessed for intervention through a play-way method, vision stimulation, visual skills development therapy for preventing further deterioration, a continuing process where the child is carefully assessed until she/he attains 3 years.

The facility equipped with State of the Art infrastructure and manned by an expert in training and guiding the visually impaired, offering comprehensive services to this section including educational and vocational guidance in sync with the Low Vision Clinic (LVC) at the Sankara Nethralaya main campus was inaugurated by Shri Ramakrishna Raju and Mrs Revathy Ramakrishna founders of ‘Vision Aid’ a Boston based charity engaged in serving the visually impaired through various measures.