Aravind News Team

The mind is everything. What you think you become.
- Buddha

Aravind was always fortunate to have been supported by well-wishers from different walks of life in its journey towards eliminating needless blindness. It was truly a proud moment when Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Former President of India paid a visit to Aravind, mainly to motivate the research scholars underlining the importance of setting proper goals and priorities.

Libraries set up in several of the Aravind centres help support medical education, including teaching, research and patient care. As an encouraging gesture, Aravind’s senior librarian, L. Kirubanithi was awarded the T. Mark Hodges International Service Award by the Medical Library Association. Based in the US, the Association supports health sciences research, education, and patient care.

Employee welfare initiatives have also been a priority at Aravind and in the last month the Human Resource Department organized a summer camp for employees’ children. Camp offered the children a different environment in which to grow their social and personal skills as well as expand their friendship circle.

News about these and many more feature in this issue.

Aravind News Team

Awards and Accolades
Best Nursing Care Award for Ms. Chidambaram
Aravind – Tirunelveli, May 8
Ms. Chidambaram, Nursing Superintendent, Aravind – Tirunelveli was awarded AVK Kalvi Kuzhumam award for her excellent services rendered towards patient care.
T. Mark Hodges International Service Award for Mr. L. Kirubanithi
Chicago, USA, May 19
Mr. L. Kirubanithi at USA
Mr. L. Kirubanithi, Senior Librarian received the prestigious T. Mark Hodges International Service Award 2014 from the Medical Library Association at the ceremony held at Chicago. The award recognises his contributions in laying the foundation for MLA’s second century of excellence and achievement in the health information profession.
Puthiya Thalaimurai Tamilan Virudugal Award for Dr. G. Natchiar
Aravind - Madurai
  Dr. G. Natchiar has been selected for the Puthiya Thalaimurai Tamilan Virudugal Award by Puthiya Thalaimurai TV. The award is given every year to celebrate excellence in the field of Social Work, Science, Industry, Social Work Arts, Tamil Literature and Sports. Dr. Natchiar has been nominated under the category of Social Work. The award will be presented on July 25, 2014 at Chennai.
Special Events
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Visits Aravind
Aravind – Madurai, May 31
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Former President of India made a visit to Aravind mainly to have a talk with the research team. Dr. P. Namperumalsamy delivered the welcome address during the function and Dr. VR Muthukkaruppan gave an idea about the research at Aravind and presented many rare cases. An interactive session was also arranged as part of the programme. Dr. Kalam cleared various doubts of the audience related to research. The programme was shared with all the Aravind centres via teleconferencing.
News and Events
Kodai Kondattam 2014
Aravind – Madurai, May 1-15
Kodai Kondattam 2014
Janakiamma Child Care Centre along with the HR Department organized a two week summer camp for employees’ children. Resource persons were roped in to handle sessions like arts and crafts, aerobics, and cooking, soft skills development and so on. Children were taken out on field visits several times. Valedictory function of the camp was held on May 16. Mrs. Premalatha Panneerselvam, Senior Principal, Mahatma Schools and Ms. Kowsalya Srinivasan, Principal Akshara School were the chief guests. A total of 48 children from 5years and above attended the camp.
Melody Friday
LAICO, May 2
  After a gap of more than 6 months, Melody Friday was revived and this time we had a record number of participants from all cadres such as MLOP, Admin, DTP, Medical officer, LAICO etc. The theme for the session was "Eyes". Songs from Malayalam, Tamil, and Hindi were sung. The audience truly had a rejuvenating experience.
Exposure Visit
USA, May 8-22
Mr. Kirubanithi visited USA mainly to receive the prestigious T. Mark Hodges International Service award from the Medical Library Association. As part of this, he visited some medical libraries. At Washington DC, he spent time at National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus, Bethesda, Maryland. Here, he observed various departments including National Library of Medicine (NLM) and National Eye Institute (NEI).

At NIH campus, he presented the following topics:
A perspective on Medical Libraries in India - Kirubanithi
Challenges and Opportunities in Access to Biomedical Information Resources in Developing Countries – Pam C Sieving & Kirubanithi
In addition, he went to John Hopkins School of Public Health and Wilmer Eye Institute, Baltimore and visited the libraries there. He also visited The University of Maryland and their Health Sciences and Human Resources Library.

In Chicago, Mr. Kirubanithi attended the Medical Library Association meetings and the award function. He attended some continuing education (CE) courses. He also got an opportunity to visit University of Illinois Centre (UIC) and Ophthalmic Library in Chicago.
Uveitis CME for General Ophthalmologists
Pondicherry May 11
  Pondicherry Ophthalmologist’s Association and Aravind Eye Hospital, Pondicherry jointly organized Uveitis for General Ophthalmologists at Hotel GRT Sunway. Eminent speakers included Dr. S.R. Rathinam, Dr. V.K. Anuradha, Dr. Jyotirmay Biswas, Dr. B. Manohar Babu, and Dr. S. Bala Murugan. The CME discussed the latest trends in the treatment on uveitis.
Instruments Maintenance Course at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital
Kisumu, Kenya, May 12 -23
Instruments Maintenance team at Kenya
A two week instruments maintenance course was held at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kisumu, Kenya during May 12-23 for the Biomedical Engineers/Technicians working for the Ministry of Health, Kenya in different counties spread over the country. There were fifteen participants. Fred Hollows Foundation Kenya had sponsored the program. Ms. Kasthuri, Mr. Poornachandran and Prof. V. Srinivasan were the faculty from LAICO/AECS to run the program. Mr. Nicholas Mathengi working for the ministry, who had undergone instruments maintenance training course in Madurai a few years back was the local organizer of the course. As usual the trainees while learning the techniques of maintenance were able to service and bring back to use several instruments that needed repair. There was an instruments maintenance camp at Sabatia Eye Hospital where the trainees were able to service and bring back to use many instruments of that hospital. An important feature of the course was commissioning of a new B-Scan Unit that was a gift for one of the hospitals and could not be put into use for several months for want of some details. The trainees were given a demonstration of how to get in touch with manufacturers in other countries (USA in this case) and get the instrument commissioned online.
Performance Par Excellence
On May 19, 2014, Aravind Eye Care System including all its vision centres and community clinics saw the highest OP of 13,300 patients. Aravind – Madurai set a record OP of 2,844 paying and 920 free patients.

Message from our Director-Operation on this special day - "While we have reasons to feel proud, it is also humbling that 13,290 placed their complete faith in us with respect to their eye care. I am confidence that each member of the Aravind Eye Care System did their best to fulfil this trust in us. Yet each one of would also know that we could have done better in some or several cases. While this is a record of some sorts, these numbers will soon become the norm and new records will emerge. We need to engage with our respective teams, reflect and gear up" – R.D. Thulasiraj, Director –Operations, AECS.
Dr. M. Srinivasan Delivers Dr. Narendra Swarup Memorial Oration
Hyderabad, May 25
Dr. M. Srinivasan at Hyderabad
Dr. M. Srinivasan delivered the 11th Dr. Narendra Swarup Memorial Oration at the annual CME: Focus on Anterior Segment organized by Swarup Eye Centre at Hotel Avasa, Hyderabad. Dr. Srinivasan’s oration was on Prevention of Corneal Ulcer and Related Vision Loss.
8th Hospital Day celebrations
Aravind – Tuticorin, May 30
Aravind – Tuticorin celebrated its eighth hospital day with a variety of programmes. At the function, Dr. Meenakshi, Medical Consultant, welcomed the gathering. Dr. Anitha, Medical Officer presented the Annual Report for the year 2013. Dr. R. Ramakrishnan, Chief Medical Officer, Aravind - Tirunelveli addressed the gathering. He shared his rich experiences of working with Aravind and provided various insights to the audience.

There were cultural programmes by doctors and other staff. The function came to an end with a vote of thanks proposed by Mr. Nammalvar - Manager Office.
Conferences Attended Elsewhere
Annual Conference of US ARVO
Orlando, Florida, USA, May 4-8
Dr. P. Sundaresan
- Involvement of collagen – related genes and its influence on keratoconus and primary open angle glaucoma patients in India (Poster presentation)
Dr. Gowri Priya Chidambaranathan
- Live imaging of limbal niche in limbal stem cell deficiency patients (Oral Presentation)
She attended a one day ARVO Education Course on "Cell therapy in ocular disease: Emerging research and therapy" on May 3, 2014.
Dr. S. Senthil Kumari
- Ascorbate concentrations and polymorphisms in sodium transporter vitamin C genes in human plasma, aqueous humor and lens nucleus in an ascorbate depleted setting (Poster)
Bibhuti Ballav Saikia
- Long PCR based analysis of whole mitochondrial genome of LHON patients (Poster).
Bibhuti received the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research (AFER ) Travel Grant to attend the meeting.
Dr Sharmila
- Safety and efficacy of cataract surgery with concomitant sclerostomy in nanophthalmos (Poster)
Emerging Trends in Hospital Administration
Chennai, May 9 – 10
Dr. S. Aravind, Ms. Dhivya Ramasamy and Ms. Deepa Krishnan participated in the conference organized by Sankara Netralaya. Dr. Aravind was part of the panel discussion held during the conference.
LAICO Happenings
Building Relationships
USA, April 18 – May 8
Mr. R.D. Thulasiraj visited the Seva Office at New York working with sight team and participated in the board meeting. He spent time at ORBIS headquarters and, made a presentation to the entire office about Aravind’s work. He met with key persons from Lavelle Fund and explained about Aravind’s work. Mr. Thulasiraj attended the board meeting of Aravind Eye Foundation, and discussed various projects which the Foundation would support. He also participated in the Acumen Advisory group meeting, board retreat and board meeting. At Johns Hopkins, he held discussions with Al Sommer and David Friedman on the Hilton project. He was an invited speaker/panelist at the "Business for Social Impact Forum" which was a 2 day conference at Harvard Business School and School of Public Health, Boston.

At Ann Arbor, Mr. Thulasiraj made a special visit to Kellogg Eye Centre to meet with faculty members involved in deepening collaborations between Aravind and Kellogg.  He met first with Roland Chen, PhD, research investigator in U/M’s Department of Engineering, to discuss ophthalmic instrument development at Aravind’s Aurolab and Dr. Chen’s innovative work on instrument design here at Michigan. He also met with Joshua Stein, MD, Kellogg assistant professor, who is undertaking a study to discover how cataract surgery in this country could be made more efficient. He moved on to a tour of our Retinal Dystrophies division, where he encountered Naheed Khan, PhD, director of the Kellogg Retinal Electrophysiology Laboratory, and Thiran Jayasundera, MD, Kellogg assistant professor of Ophthalmology, who are readying a joint project between Kellogg and the Aravind Eye Hospital in Pondicherry, India, that will study the natural history of retinal pigmentary disorders. He also conferred with Monica Michelotti, MD, Kellogg resident in Ophthalmology, who is studying the worldwide adoption of electronic medical records and delivered a presentation in early 2014 on that topic at the annual meeting of the World Association of Eye Hospitals held at Aravind.
Aravind Medical Research Foundation
Visit to University of Liverpool, UK
Aravind – Madurai, May 11-20
Dr. P. Sundaresan at UK
Dr. P. Sundaresan, senior scientist visited Department of Eye and Vision Science, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK. He met Prof. Colin E Willoughby and Dr. Sajjad Ahmad to discuss future collaborative projects on genetics of glaucoma and cornea. He also visited Centre for Genomic Research (CGR) at the University of Liverpool to access sequencing and array technologies related to genomics and human genetics.

In addition to this, in London he met Dr. Astrid Fletcher and discussed the INDEYE project.
Recognition for Research Fellows
Aravind – Madurai
Mr. Naveen Luke Demonte has been awarded the DBT Junior Research Fellowship under Category I. He is one of the top 100 students in merit list.
Ms. Saumi Mathews has been awarded the ICMR Senor Research Fellowship.
Reaching out to find the cause of Anophthalmia and Microphthalmia

Anophthalmia and Microphthalmia are rare eye diseases with a prevalence of 30 per 1,00,000 births. These congenital disorders are known to be due to genetic mutations, involving as many as 67 candidate genes. Alarmingly, there was a report of occurrence of anophthalmia and severe microphthalmia in more than 42 babies, in a small village called Ara in Bihar State, seen within the time period of six months (during 2009-2010). All the patients were examined by Dr. S. K. Kedia, Ophthalmologist in Ara, with the help of Dr. P. Vijayalakshmi, Pediatric Ophthalmologist in Aravind Eye Hospital. During this period two eye camps were conducted in this village. Clinical details of the patients were documented and pedigrees were drawn. Blood samples were collected from these patients and their parents with their informed consent.

This cluster study on ocular anomalies in Ara was reported to the Government of Bihar. Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi supported Aravind Medical Research Foundation to do a research into this using DNA isolated from the blood samples of the patients and their parents. The main focus of the study was to define the spectrum of genetic variations in known candidate genes, with the hope of elucidating the cause for such a high prevalence of these globe anomalies.

Dr. P. Sundaresan, Senior Scientist and his research group in Aravind Medical Research Foundation screened eleven candidate genes (SOX2, PAX6, OTX2, RAX, CHX10, STRA6, GDF6, FOXE3, CRYBA4, GDF3 and BMP4) which account for the majority of the cases of globe anomalies. Studies clearly demonstrated that there were no genetic variations in the 42 babies and their parents. Therefore, the causative factor was assumed to be environmental pollution in this village during that period. .
Training Programmes

Training Programmes Enrollments for June 2014 at Aravind Eye Care System

Course title
Training Centre
Total Number Trained as on May 2014
Enrollments for
June 2014
Long Term Courses - For Ophthalmologists
Fellowship in Paediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus
Fellowship in Retina & Vitreous
Fellowship in Cornea
Fellowship in Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Fellowship in Glaucoma
Short Term Courses - For Ophthalmologists
Diagnosis and Management of Glaucoma
Lasers in Diabetic Retinopathy
Management of Retinopathy of Prematurity and Paediatric Retinal Disorders
Small Incision Cataract Surgery
Fundus Fluorescein Angiography and Ultrasonography
Non - Clinical Courses
Community Outreach and Social Marketing of Eye Care Services
Instrument Maintenance - For Technicians
  • George JM, Prasanthi N, Sundaresan P, Jeevan AK, Narendran V
    - A novel mutation in the NR2E3 gene associated with Goldmann-Favre syndrome and vasoproliferative tumor of the retina
    Mol Vis 2014;20:724-731Article View
  • Thulasiraj RD, Dhivya R
    - Efficient high-volume cataract services: the Aravind model
    Community Eye Health J 2014;27(85):7-8 Article View
  • Lalitha P, Manoranjan Das, Purva PS, Karpagam R, Geetha M, Lakshmi Priya J, Naresh Babu K.
    - Postoperative endophthalmitis due to Burkholderia cepacia complex from contaminated anaesthetic eye drops.
    Br J Ophthalmol. 2014 Jun. [Epub] Article View
  • Rathinam SR, Manohar Babu, Radhika T, Anita K, Nardone N, Esterberg E, Lee SM, Enanoria WT, Porco TC, Browne EN, Weinrib R, Acharya NR.
    - A randomized clinical trial comparing methotrexate and mycophenolate mofetil for noninfectious uveitis.
    Ophthalmology. 2014 Jun. [Epub] Article View
  • Mitra A, Ramakrishnan R, Mohideen AK.
    - Anterior segment optical coherence tomography documentation of a case of topiramate induced acute angle closure.
    Indian J Ophthalmol. 2014 May;62(5):619-Article View
Aurolab News
Awareness Lecture on Kidney Diseases
Aurolab, May 18
Dr. Balamurugan – Nephrologist, Govt. Rajaji Hospital, Madurai gave guest lecture on kidney diseases to the Aurolab staff. The staff members felt the session highly useful.
Monthly Patient Statistics

May - 2014

Paying (New & Review) 56,212 7,303 27,829 36,022 26,727 5,915 3,699 10,028 2,443 176,178
Free (Direct walk-in) 16,156 1,895 6,826 11,272 7,888 3 534 - 827 45,401
Regular Eye Camps 8,944 1,728 3,888 7,342 9,149 - 318 816 - 32,185
Diabetic Retinopathy camps - 50 47 730 261 - - - - 1,088
Refraction Camps 2,327 - 607 2,906 402 - - 56 - 6,298
Mobile Refraction Unit - - - - - - - 477 - 477
School Screening camps
- - - - - - - - -
Paediatric Camps - - - - - - - - - -
Vision Centres 11,104 4,160 5,702 2,797 2,975 - 662 - - 27,400
Community Eye Clinics 3,789 1,632 1,993 - - - - - - 7,414
Total OP Examinations 98,532 16,768 46,892 61,069 47,402 5,918 5,213 11,377 3,270 296,441
Paying 3,775 464 1,566 1,949 1,506 225 122 644 135 10,386
Free (Direct) 4,206 325 1,002 2,075 1,083 47 95 70 102 9,005
Camp 3,125 254 1,039 2,120 3,083 - 41 175 38 9,875
Total Surgeries 11,106 1,043 3,607 6,144 5,672 272 258 889 275 29,266