Dr. R. Usha Kim

Chief, Orbit, Oculoplasty, Ocular Oncology & Ocular Prosthetics, Professor in Ophthalmology
Director, Allied Ophthalmic Personnel Training Programme Aravind Eye Care System
Regional HR Director - Madurai, Theni and Dindigul
Active Reg.No
Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai

Dr. Usha Kim heads the Department of Orbit, Oculoplasty, Ocular Oncology and Ocular Prosthetics at Aravind Eye Hospitals. After completing her graduation in Medicine from the prestigious PSG Institute of Medicine, Coimbatore, she went on to complete her residency in Ophthalmology at Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai. Later, she underwent specialized training in field of Orbit, Oculoplasty and Ocular Oncology under the guidance of Dr. William B. Stewart at the University of California, USA.

In 1998, Dr. Usha started the Department of Orbit and Oculoplasty at Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai. Under her leadership, the department has become a Centre of Excellence in the treatment of the rarer ocular conditions that have to do with trauma, congenital anomalies and cancers of the eye. The department has become one of the leading units for diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and research in this field of ophthalmology. In the last 20 years, this clinic has seen over 6,41,701 patients and performed over 1,47,008 surgeries – making it one among the largest units for orbit and oculoplasty work in the world. The Department has integrated oncology care for patients as well as started providing custom-made ocular prosthetics. Dr. Usha continues to be a high volume cataract surgeon at Aravind in addition to her surgical expertise in Orbit & Oculoplasty.

Deeply moved by the plight of hapless patients who discontinue treatment for want of money, Dr. Usha set up the Ring of Hope initiative in 2004, to raise funds for the treatment of ocular cancers. Till date, 7000 patients have been treated free of cost under this programme.

Dr. Usha’s unit is also a preferred destination for training in Orbit, Oculoplasty, Ocular Oncology & Ocular Prosthetics Services – so far, 80 ophthalmologists have undergone long-term fellowship under her; 74 international fellows have undergone short term training. In addition, 80  ocularists from across the globe have been trained in the technical skills of producing custom-made ocular prosthetics. (12,032, Facial prosthesis 42)

Dr. Usha has 61 publications to her credit out of which 36 are in International, 25 in National and State journals.

She has also contributed to several books. She has coauthored the Atlas of Imaging in Neuro-ophthalmology and Orbit. She is currently the reviewer of the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.

Selected peer-reviewed publications (Best publications in chronological order)

  1. Bains S, Kim U, Shanti R. Orbital melanoma with calcification: A diagnostic dilemma. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2016 Dec;64(12):932–4.
  2. Bains S, Vidhya N, Kim U, Shanti R, Devanand J. Subcutaneous Dissemination from an Orbital Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma. Orbit. 2015;34(6):338–9
  3. Kim UR, Shah AD, Shanti R, Arora V. Primary adenoid cystic carcinoma of the eyelid. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Apr;26(2):134–6.
  4. Kim UR, Shah AD, Arora V, Solanki U. Isolated optic nerve infiltration in systemic lymphoma–a case report and review of literature. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Aug;26(4):291–3.
  5. Kim UR, Khazaei H, Stewart WB, Shah AD. Spectrum of orbital disease in South India: an aravind study of 6328 consecutive patients. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Oct;26(5):315–22.
  6. Kim UR, Arora V, Ramchandran S, Shah AD, Phelps PO. Orbital hyalinizing spindle cell tumor with giant rosettes. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Feb;26(1):30–2.
  7. Kim UR, Arora V, Shanti R, Shah AD. Neglected giant atypical fibroxanthoma of the eyelid. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Oct;25(5):408–9.
  8. Kim UR, Arora V, Devanand J, Khazei HM. Multimodality treatment approach in management of primary peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor of the orbit. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2009 Oct;57(5):395–8.
  9. Arora V, Kim UR, Khazei HM. Delleman Oorthuys syndrome: “Oculocerebrocutaneous syndrome.” Indian J Ophthalmol. 2009 Oct;57(5):387–9.
  10. Nallathambi J, Neethirajan G, Usha K, Jitendra J, De Baere E, Sundaresan P. FOXL2 mutations in Indian families with blepharophimosis-ptosis-epicanthus inversus syndrome. J Genet. 2007 Aug;86(2):165–8.
  11. Vijayalakshmi P, Jethani J, Kim U. Congenital unilateral ocular fibrosis syndrome secondary to benign congenital tumor. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2006 Jun;54(2):123–5.
  12. Usha K, Smitha S, Shah N, Lalitha P, Kelkar R. Spectrum and the susceptibilities of microbial isolates in cases of congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction. J AAPOS. 2006 Oct;10(5):469–72.
  13. Rathinam SR, Usha KR, Rao NA. Presumed trematode-induced granulomatous anterior uveitis: a newly recognized cause of intraocular inflammation in children from south India. Am J Ophthalmol. 2002 Jun;133(6):773–9.

Completed Research Projects:

  1. Etiology of Pediatric Proptosis Prospective study of Retinaoblastoma and its management .
  2. Spectrum of orbital disorder with histopathological correlation.
  3. Prospective study of Adnexal malignancies .
  4. Prospective study of orbital trauma
  5. Prospective study of orbital infection .
  6. Comparison of endoscopic, endonasal DCR with conventional DCR.
  7. Prospective Study of post-operative Ptosis.
  8. Comparison of Implant materials used in enucleation
  9. Oral Clonidine premedication in patients undergoing dacryocystorhinostomy under local anesthesia
  10. National Retinoblastoma Registry – Indian Council Medical Research
  11. Randomized, double blind, active controlled study of the efficacy, surgical outcome and complications of Silicone Rod Sling in frontalis sling suspension surgery
  12. Randomized, double blind, active controlled study of the efficacy, surgical outcome and complications of Silicone Rod Sling in frontalis sling suspension surgery
  13. Socket Reconstruction using Bio-Engineered Autologous Oral Mucosal Epithelium
  14. Corneal Surface Reconstruction Using Bio-Engineered Autologous Oral (Buccal) Mucosal Epithelium
  15. Developing Xenobiotic-free Culture conditions to Generate Stem-Cell Rich Epithelium for Corneal Surface Reconstruction
  16. Factors Responsible for the Generation of Epithelial Sheet Rich in Stem Cell under ex-vivo conditions from the Limbal and Buccal Biopsy
  17. A Prospective non-randomized single arm, open label study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of lacrimal silicone intubation for the mamgement of Epiphora – Aurolab
  18. Evaluation of Auro-Tube in conjunctiva dacryocystorhinostomy (CDCR) – Aurolab

On Going Research Projects :

  1. Establishing the genetic testing centre for childhood ocular cancer (retinoblastoma) in Aravind Medical Research Foundation
  2. Genetic & transcript analysis of RB1 in south Indian RB patients – ICMR
  3. A simple smartphone-based method for early detection of retinoblastoma – a pilot study

Dr Usha Kim is a member of various bodies within and outside Aravind. She was the Ex. President of Oculoplastic Association of India. Given her interest in Oncology, she is currently involved in genetic research pertaining to Retinoblastoma. She has 61 publications to her credit out of which 36 are in international 25 national and State journals. 

She has also contributed to several books. She has co-authored the Atlas of Imaging in Neuro-ophthalmology and Orbit. She is currently the reviewer of the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.

In addition to her core clinical work, Dr. Usha Kim is involved in key leadership positions at the Aravind Eye Care System. She is one of the trustees of GOVEL Trust that runs Aravind Eye Hospitals. She is the Director of the Allied Ophthalmic Personnel training programme since 2005. This programme is accredited by JCAHPO, USA. Over the last five years, she has taken up the additional responsibility of overseeing the growing network of Aravind’s primary eye care service, which has 100 centres currently. 

 In the addition to all of these activities, when society needed her expertise in the subject she has always readily and actively participated. COVID -19 pandemic was a good example of this that in the pandemic main focuses was on respiratory problems, but orbit specialist also faced challenge of treating mucormycosis. It is a secondary fatal fungal infection noted in diabetic and non diabetic patients post COVID-19 infection. In the second wave of COVID -19 pandemic in southern India significant rise in the mucormycosis cases was noted and health system was strained due to lack of availability of drugs and expertise. In this scenario Dr.Usha Kim played a key role in procuring anti-fungal medications and treating patients with mucormycosis. She also organized large funding for treatment of patients with mucormycosis from low socioeconomic strata as this treatment was not affordable for everyone. Our center saw around 300 patients of mucormycosis in the 6months (May 2021-Oct -2021) which is the highest number of patients seen by any single centre in India. Dr. Usha Kim has used novel technique of salvaging globe and orbit in mucormycosis with use of antifungal injections in the eye. (retrobulbar amphotericin B). We are proud to state that our patients are leading healthy and good quality life after one year of the detection of the devastating infection, healthily without orbital exenteration.

Dr. Usha was the Best Outgoing Student of her school and college. She is the proud recipient of several major awards, to name a few:

  • CP Gupta Award for ‘Best Paper’ from TNOA in 2002
  • Best Poster’ award for Prospective Evaluation of Contracted Anophthalmic Sockets in the Indo Israel Meeting held in Chennai in 2005
  • ‘Vocational excellence Award’ from Rotary Club of Madurai in 2010 for her work in the community
  • Best Orbital Photography’ award in Joint Meeting of the Oculoplastics Association of India & Asia Pacific Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2007
  • International Women’s day Excellence award by the Lions club of Madurai District 324-B3 March 8, 2015 for her work in the field of Ocular Oncology
  • PSG & Sons’ Charities, Coimbatore Scroll of Honour awarded for her an eminent expert in diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and research in ophthalmology holding a key leadership position in a reputed Eye Care system, for having conducted a large number of cataract surgeries in addition to her widely acclaimed expertise in orbit oculoplasty, ocular prosthetic services, ocular oncology and her personal involvement in the Ring of Hope initiative.
    Jan 27, 2016
  • March 7th 2019,  International Women’s day Elegance of womanhood award of Excellence, BNI, Chanakayaas, Madurai.
  • March 9th 2019, Vocational Excellence award by Rotary Club of Madurai Blossom RI District 3000 Club No 8700 charted on 29.06.15, for her dedicated efforts for future vision in advanced eye care.
  • July 2019, Vocational Excellence award by Rotary Club of Madurai Star/Madurai East/Madurai Kings City Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of exemplary contribution in the field of Medicine and for her Commitment and Dedication to High moral and Ethical values.
  • Aug 2019, Tamilnadu Panopthamic Premier League – TNOA Conference – Won Trophy Five times
  • Nov 2015 – 2019 Dr.M.K.Mehra Oration Award – King George Medical University, Lucknow
  • 26th Jan 2020 The Award of Exceptional women of Excellence – Women Economic Forum
  • 5th March 2020 International Women’s Day Achiever’s award in recognition of her efforts to build an Equal Society, Lady Doak College, Madurai & Transgender Resource Centre, Madurai.
  • 8th Mar 2020 Women’s Day awarded to Dr. Usha Kim in recognition of Women Achievers contribution to Society at Large, Devadoss Hospital, Madurai
  • 22-Nov-20 A pride in presenting this Citation to Dr. Usha Kim on the Occasion of Dr. Balagopal Memorial Meet Endowment Lecture, Association of Physicians of India – Trichy
  • 2021 July- Dr. R.H.P.Sinha Oration award from Bihar Ophthalmic Society, Bihar for incredible contribution in the field of Retinoblastoma named Journey of Hope in mid-year conference of OPAI