The prestigious Padma Shri Award bestowed upon Dr. G. Natchiar, a founding member of the Aravind Eye Care System, has sparked a wave of immense joy, resonating not only with the dedicated staff across Aravind’s 135 centres, but also with the countless patients whose lives have been transformed by her exceptional care. This marks the third time an Aravind member receiving the Padma Shri, following Dr. V, and Dr. PN, a symbol of trust and affection the community has placed in the organisation. It signifies not just Aravind’s physical expansion across the country, but a deeper, intangible growth, securing a place in the hearts of people. Dr. Natchiar’s award ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 9th May 2024, receiving the honour from the Honourable President of India, Droupadi Murmu, stands as a validation that Aravind remains committed in upholding the visionary legacy of its founding father, Dr. V.

Aravind’s involvement extends far beyond clinical excellence. It actively partners with governments and non-profit organisations to conduct eye care initiatives, including campaigns and surveys. A recent example is the RAAB7 prevalence survey, conducted in the Sivaganga district. For the first time, the upgraded RAAB7 tool was being tested among the Indian population, particularly in Tamil Nadu. As of today, there is no near vision screening tool/method available for community screening. Hence, the near-vision validation study has been combined with the current RAAB7. The results showed a comparable level of agreement with the near vision tool of the Peek Acuity App against the gold standard EDTRS near vision screening. Eventually, the near-vision screening module was incorporated into the current RAAB7. This is a significant milestone in generating evidence relating to the near vision burden globally for effective planning of service delivery.

News about these and much more occurred between 15th April and 15th May are featured in this edition.