Sankara Nethralaya
Sankara Nethralaya
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Brief History

The Department of Orbit, Oculoplasty, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Services at Sankara Nethralaya stands as a living testimony to the far sightedness and pioneering spirit of the institution’s founder, Dr S S Badrinath. In 1982, there was no ophthalmic hospital in India offering comprehensive diagnosis and clinical/surgical management of aesthetic/functional abnormalities in the eyelids, the orbit region (bony structure around the eye) and the lacrimal system (tear drainage system).

Chairman Emeritus Dr. S S Badrinath envisioned the need for an Oculoplasty, Orbit and Aesthetics department to provide for diagnosis and expert treatment of congenital anomalies, injuries of the eyelids & Orbit besides tumours of the Eyelids & Orbit in 1982. He invited Dr. Nirmala Subramanian, a Plastic Surgeon, to set up an exclusive Orbital & Reconstructive surgery department at Sankara Nethralaya.

For the last thirty-five years the Oculoplasty Department has marched ahead ushering in more ancillary services & catering to an ever increasing number of patients from all over India and neighboring countries.

The department is headed by its Director Dr Bipasha Mukherjee who is ably supported by a team of expert medical professionals from diverse specialties that include pathology, radiology, oncology, neurosurgery, oro-facio-maxillary surgery and Otolaryngology who serve as visiting consultants.

Faculty & the expert team of surgeons;

Prof. Dr. Nirmala Subramanian M.S., M. Ch. (Plastic Surgery)
Professor Emeritus, Oculoplastic Surgery, Sankara Nethralaya.

Dr Bipasha Mukherjee, M.S., D.N.B, Director
Dr Md. Shahid Alam, M.S., Deputy Director, Associate Consultant (Kolkata)

Dr Kirthi Koka, M.S., Consultant
Dr Nisar Sonam Poonam, M.S., Associate Consultant
Dr Varsha Backiavathy, D.O., D.N.B, Associate Consultant
Dr Preeta Nailr A K, Trainee Consultant
Dr Debi Kundu, M.S., Consultant (Kolkata)


Dr Bipasha Mukherjee, M.S., D.N.B
Dr. Mukherjee is from Kolkata, India. After completing her under-graduation she attained MS (Ophthalmology) from Aligarh Muslim University and Diplomate of National Board (DNB). She did Fellowship in Orbit &Oculoplasty under Dr. Usha Kim in Aravind Eye Hospital and Post Graduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Madurai. She worked as Senior consultant and Deputy Medical Superintendent in M.P.Birla Eye Clinic, Kolkata, in collaboration with Aravind Eye Hospitals. She was awarded the International Council of Ophthalmology fellowship in France, under Prof. Jean-Paul Adenis, former President of European Society of OculoPlastic & Reconstructive Surgeons. She has undergone further training and observerships in the field of Orbit and Oculoplasty in Moorfields Eye Hospital, London; Bristol Royal Infirmary, UK; University of British Columbia, Vancouver; Greenbay, Wisconsin, USA; Jules Stein Eye Institute, Los Angeles, California. She joined Sankara Nethralaya in 2005 and currently heads the department of Orbit, Oculoplasty, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Services. She has had numerous presentations in national and international conferences and publications in peer reviewed journals. She is the principal editor of the book on ‘Emergencies of the orbit and adnexa’ with Dr. Hunter Yuen. Her areas of interest include diseases of the orbit & adnexa including tumors; lacrimal surgery; socket reconstruction; traumatic orbital & adnexal injuries.

Dr. Nirmala Subramanian, M.S., M.Ch.
Dr. Subramanian is a Senior Plastic Surgeon associated with Sankara Nethralaya since 1981. She completed her M.B.B.S. & M.S. (Gen Surg.) from AIIMS, New Delhi and M.Ch (Plastic Surgery) from Madras Medical College. She has extensive experience in Plastic Surgery, Burns, Hand Surgery and Micro vascular Surgery. She retired from Tamil Nadu Government Services as a Professor & Head of the Department of Plastic Surgery at Kilpauk Medical College & Hospital. She held the post of President of All India Oculoplastic Association. Her areas of interest include Orbital Surgery, Ptosis and eyelid reconstruction, correction of congenital anomalies & aesthetic Periocular Surgery.

Dr.Md Shahid Alam, M.S., FICO, FAICO.
Dr. Alam completed MBBS from Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College and Hospital and M.S from the prestigious Institute of Ophthalmology, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. He did 2 years fellowship in Orbit and Oculoplasty from Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai followed by 2 months of fellowship in Phacoemulsification surgery at the same institute. He worked as an Associate consultant for 3 years in the department of Orbit and Oculoplasty at Sankara Nethrlaya, Chennai, and is currently working and heading the department at its Kolkata branch. His area of interest include Orbital and adnexal oncology.

Dr.Kirthi Koka, M.S.
Dr. Koka has completed her MBBS from Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital, Chennai and M.S (Ophthalmology) from Stanley Medical College, Chennai. She completed a 2 year clinical fellowship in Orbit & Oculoplasty from Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai. She has completed an observeship at the Moran eye center, Utah under Dr. Bhupendra C.K. Patel. Her areas of interest include orbit and eyelid surgeries, ocular oncology and aesthetics. She is in charge of the fellowship training program.

Dr.Nisar Sonam Poonam, M.S.
She is currently incharge of the Ocular Prosthetic Clinic and has a special interest in ocular trauma, aesthetics and management of thyroid eye disease. She completed her basic medical education from SDM College of Medical Sciences & Hospital, Dharwad, Karnataka. She finished her masters in Ophthalmology from Mamata Medical College & Hospital, Khammam, Telangana. She did her research cum clinical fellowship in Orbit, Oculoplasty, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Services at Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai. Before joining Sankara Nethralaya she was incharge of the Department of Orbit and Oculoplasty at Nethradhama Super Speciality Eye Hospital, Bangalore.

Dr.Varsha Backiavathy, D.O., D.N.B, FICO
Dr. Backiavathy obtained her MBBS degree from CMC Vellore. She attained D.O. from CMC, Vellore and DNB from Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai. Following this she did her specialization in Orbit and Oculoplasty at Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai. She has also obtained the International council of ophthalmology fellowship in Ophthalmology. Her field of interests includes orbital and lid surgeries.

Dr. Debi Kundu, M.S.
Dr. Kundu has completed MBBS & M.D. (Anatomy) from Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College, Kolkata and M.S. (ophthalmology) from R. G. Kar Medical College, Kolkata. She did a fellowship in General Ophthalmology (2 years course with 14 months of Oculoplasty training) from Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai and Kolkata. Her areas of interest include Lid reconstruction, Ptosis surgeries, Trauma & Orbital tumor management.

Support Personnel

Dr J. Biswas, M.S. & Dr. K.Krishna Kumar, M.D. (Pathology)
Dr Veena Noronha, M.D. (Radiology)
Dr Swatee Halbe, M.D. (Interventional Radiology)
Dr Sumathi V (E.N.T.)
Dr Ramesh D (E.N.T)
Dr Ananthnarayanan P (Oro-facio-Maxillary Surgeon)
Dr Julius Scott, Pediatric Oncologist
Dr. Balasubramaniam V, Radiation Oncologist

The following are some of the common issues for which procedures are carried out at the Department:

  • Congenital anomalies of the Eyelids.
  • Drooping of the Eyelids ( Ptosis)
  • Absence of eye either at birth or due to an injury.
  • Tumours of the Eyelid.
  • Protrusion of the Eye ball due to tumour in the Orbit.
  • Thyroid Eye Disease.
  • Deformities following injuries.
  • Fractures of the Orbit.
  • Eyelids malposition.
  • Burns of the Eyelids.
  • Blepharoplasty, Botox injection, filler injections.
  • Socket reconstruction.
  • Lacrimal drainage system surgeries.
  • Customized Eye-shell fabrication.
Click here for the entire list of Procedures

The institute has excellent support facilities, diagnostic equipment like Ultrasound A & B Scan, X-ray facility, CT & MRI Scans (outside collaboration), well established ocular microbiology, pathology, and genetic lab, a world class surgical theatre equipped with operating microscope, endoscopes, surgical lights, fibre optic light, bipolar and unipolar cautery unit, Radio frequency cutting- coagulating system, radiotherapy (outside collaboration) and chemotherapy facilities.

Ocular prosthetic clinic

The department has a dedicated ‘Ocular prosthetic Clinic’ manned by well trained and skilled ocularists serving on a full time basis. These ocularists are experts in developing customized ‘artificial eye shells’ that fit the patient precisely. This goes a long way in reducing the deformity that could be caused by removal of an eye due to various reasons and the accompanying social stigma.

Useful Information for Out-station patients

How do I get there?
Sankara Nethralaya is located on College road, in central Chennai. If you are traveling by train, Chennai Egmore/Chennai Central are the nearest railway stations. It takes 20 minutes by road to reach the institute from Chennai Central Station and 10 minutes from Egmore railway station. If you're flying, the Chennai International/domestic airport is located approx 20 km from the institute requiring a 40- 60 minute drive depending on the traffic.

How do I Plan my stay?
Typical eyelid or orbital surgery requires a 7-10 days stay in Chennai. Hospital stay is usually for a day or two, however most surgeries are on a day care basis.

Where should I stay in Chennai?
Sankara Nethralaya offers various options for Inpatient services. Based on the type of room, you may be allowed 2, 1 or no accompanying person in the room. Nearby Greams Road area has several good Hotels with a wide price range. They are convenient for your stay before/after the surgery. While we do not personally handle your stay, bookings, a list of Hotels is given here (Link to hotels near SN)


The personnel at the department have demonstrated their knowledge and skills by winning various Awards/Honors at various meets/conferences/seminars


The department offers a long term fellowship training program in Orbit, Oculoplasty, Reconstructive and Aesthetic services. The department has also trains doctors from developing countries as part of the International Council of Ophthalmology three month fellowship training program.

Fellowship in Orbit, Oculoplasty, Reconstructive and Aesthetic services
Duration: 2 Years
Numbers of positions/year: 2 (one every 6 months)
Research fellowship: Duration - 6 months
Starting Date: 1st April & 1st October
Application Deadline: 31st January & 31st July
Selection Process: Written test & Interview in February & August


The applicant should have completed post-graduation (M.S/ M.D/ D.N.B) in ophthalmology prior to beginning the Fellowship.

Other Requirements

Medical license- The applicant must be registered with Medical Council of India


Current stipend is 25,000 INR per month (subject to change)
Annually, 14 days of paid vacation

Parent Department or Academic Unit:

Medical Research Foundation, Department of Orbit, Oculoplasty, Reconstructive, & Aesthetics

Sankara Nethralaya
Old no.18, New no. 41, College Road
Chennai - 600006.
Telephone: 91-44-28271616

Primary Clinical Training Site
Sankara Nethralaya Main Hospital
18 College Road, Chennai -600006

Ancillary training sites
Aditya Birla Sankara Nethralaya, Mukundapur, Kolkata
VRR Scan Center, Habibullah Road, Chennai -17.

Guidelines and norms for aspiring fellows

Application for the Fellowship should be sent to:
18 College Road, Medical Research Foundation, Chennai - 600006
The application should include your curriculum vitae, letters from your Department Chairperson and testimonials from two other referees.

In an effort to get to know you better, we also request a handwritten essay to enable you to tell us more about yourself as a person. We review applications only after the above requirements have been met. An interview in Chennai will be requested of those applicants who seem to fit our program best.

Administrative questions may be directed to:
Ms.C.G. Sreedevi

Please click here to download Application Form
On the research front, currently eight research projects are being conducted in the department. As the orbit, oculoplasty and ocular oncology department is poised for significant growth in the patient services, research, and teaching & training, a need based assessment of human and other resources is being planned.
Publications by the department
Our Partner in Ophthalmic Research