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Sankara Nethralaya
Sankara Nethralaya
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Research Projects - Orbis


One of the best eye care institute in Asia, Sankara Nethralaya (A Unit of Medical Research Foundation - MRF) is recognized for its high quality patient care, medical research, teaching and training in ophthalmic subspecialties. Equipped with basic infrastructure and seven highly qualified and experienced pediatric ophthalmologists, the pediatric ophthalmology department at Sankara Nethralaya has been delivering services for the past 2 decades. The department has trained several short and long-term fellows (ophthalmologists) so far. The long-term fellowship has a structured curriculum and is being conducted on a regular basis while the short-term fellowship / training programs are organized on demand basis and have no structured set of course curriculum.

MRF has obtained ISO 9001 : 2000 series Quality Certification from a reputed BVQI with accreditation of ANSI - RAB, US and UKAS Quality Systems UK. In recognition of the MRF's commitment to quality, it has been bestowed with "LUCAS TVS National Institute of Quality Recognition Award" for the Best Outstanding Organization in March 2003.

All India Ophthalmic Society and World Health Organization sponsor ophthalmologists to visit MRF for short-term training programmes. For the first time in India, the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh), UK, has chosen MRF as a center for conducting FRCS Examinations. This institution has been recognized by the TamilNadu Dr. MGR Medical University and the National Board of Examinations, New Delhi, for conducting Post Graduate Diploma Course in Ophthalmology and DNB Ophthalmology and also PhD Courses in Ophthalmology, Microbiology and Biochemistry and fellowships in different sub specialties of ophthalmology.

Of late, it has been realized that pediatric eye care requires a team, comprising of pediatric ophthalmologist, pediatric optometrist / orthoptist, pediatric oriented anesthetist and nurse. Considering the huge need for pediatric eye care services and trained pediatric eye care personnel in the country, Sankara Nethralaya is strengthening its pediatric department with state-of-the art equipment, improved child-friendly ambience, enhancing capacity of the staff and evolving into an International Training Centre to impart training to pediatric ophthalmic teams in the country. This has been possible with the help of ORBIS International. Sankara Nethralaya and ORBIS plan to work together towards eradication of childhood blindness. Sankara Nethralaya will also extend technical know-how to strengthen pediatric eye care services in other tertiary eye hospitals.


The Pediatric Ophthalmology Department of Sankara Nethralaya has been in existence for 25 years. Dr. T. S. Surendran who heads the department has a vast experience of 25 years in the field. Dr. Sujata Guha, also a senior faculty member with 10 years experience is an FRCS, as is. Dr. Meenakshi is American Board Certified and Fellowship trained from University of lowa, while Dr. Sumitha Agarkar, Dr. Kavitha Kalaivani Natarajan and Dr. Murali Krishna have received their fellowship training in pediatric Ophthalmology from Aravind Eye Care System and Sankara Nethralaya respectively.

Significant contribution to research in Pediatric eye diseases has been made by the Vision Research Foundation of Sankara Nethralaya. The important areas in Pediatric Ophthalmology have been identified and the research efforts are concentrated on these to enhance our knowledge regarding preventive aspects of diseases. Some of the ongoing researches are works on etiology of congenital cataract and genetic disorders like Retinitis Pigmentosa. The department also works closely with Ophthalmic Genetics and Social Services in counseling the parents of pediatric patients.

Sankara Nethralaya has well staffed Anaesthesiology and Nursing Department.

Medical Staff
Senior Consultants 3
Associate Consultants 2
Fellows 3 - 4
Rotating Postgraduates 2 - 3
Paramedical Staff
Orthoptist - Full Time 3
Orthoptist - Part Time 2
Optometrists 4 - 5
Rotating Optometry Students 4 per month


The department is located on the 5th floor of MAHYCO Block, in the main campus of Sankara Nethralaya.

At any given time, a minimum of five Pediatric Ophthalmologists see patients. The patients are first registered. Preliminary workup is done by an optometrist / orthoptist. The consultant reviews the file and / or examines the patient and issues dilation orders.

After a cycloplegic refraction, the child is examined by the consultant. Each consultant has a secretary, who co-ordinates the activities and ensures an efficient and smooth process. Every patient receives an identity card with phone / fax nos. and email id to be able to call with queries at any time.

The outpatient department sees on an average 100 patients a day. All workup and consultant rooms are equipped with motorized charts for visual acuity testing, slit lamp, retinoscope, trial sets and indirect and direct ophthalmoscope (only in the consultant's room).
Also available are Worth four dot test, stereo tests such as Titmus, Randot and Lang, Lea Symbols, near vision chart, loose prisms and prism bars. The adjoining Orthoptic room houses a synoptophore, neutral density filers, RAF ruler and other equipment to test for near complex problems.

The children are encouraged to watch educational videos on the TV in the waiting hall or explore the child friendly play area.


Operation theatre complex is housed on the 4th floor of Mahyco Block. It has 5 operation theatres. Equipment for Pediatric Anesthesia such as Boyle's Apparatus, Pules Oximeters and Suctioning Systems are available and kept serviced.

The OT also has CC TV facility, Operating Microscopes and outcomes.A continuously monitored recovery room with a nurse is available for pediatric patients.


Orthoptic Services :

This service, which is managed by one full time and four part time orthoptist, sees a wide variety of patients. These include patients who need near complex work up, diplopia and Hess charting. The department also administers exercise for convergence insufficiency and suppression.

Low Vision Services :

In order to cater to the large number of children with vision impairment that a tertiary care center sees, the low vision department functions six days a week. Optometrists trained in low vision areas assess patients not just for optical devices but to also offer rehabilitation advice.

Contact Lens Clinic :

Offers a valuable support for visual rehabilitation of children for whom spectacles are an inadequate option.

Pediatric Optical Dispensary :

Recognizing the need for special frame designs and lenses for pediatric patients, Sankara Nethralaya has a separate dispensing unit. The knowledgeable staffs not only help with selection but also guide the patients and parents on the proper care of spectacles.