Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award and Oration 2020

October 1

Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award has been instituted in memory of Dr. G. Venkataswamy, Founder, Aravind Eye Hospitals, who made enduring contributions to the world of ophthalmology. The award recognizes and honours individuals, who through their work have significantly contributed towards the goal of eliminating needless blindness in the community.

Aravind, this year honoured Dr David F Chang, a world-renowned cataract surgeon and clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco. He has imparted fine surgical skills to ophthalmologists around the world. He has been very supportive of the humanitarian work in eye care in the developing world. Dr Chang has been named in every biennial list of the TOP 100 most influential people in ophthalmology, as voted by the international readership of The Ophthalmologist. He has authored several textbooks which have helped the current generation of ophthalmologists to significantly refine their surgical techniques. A key opinion leader in ophthalmology, Dr Chang rallied with regulatory authorities and ophthalmic societies to include flash sterilization to reduce waste and improve operating room efficiency based on Aravind’s practices and outcomes. In appreciation of his contribution towards teaching, training and improving quality and outcomes of cataract care worldwide, Aravind Eye Care System chose him for the Dr G Venkataswamy Memorial Award 2020.

The award ceremony and the subsequent oration by Dr. David Chang were conducted virtually and live-streamed through Aravind’s YouTube channel, ( The award was presented by Mr G Srinivasan, President-GOVEL Trust and Dr P Namperumalsamy, Chairman Emeritus, Aravind Eye Care System in the presence of Dr R D Ravindran, Chairman of Aravind Eye Care System. Dr Geoff Tabin, a mutual friend of Aravind and Dr Chang, presented the trophy and citation on behalf of Aravind. Dr Chang delivered the Dr G Venkataswamy Memorial Oration on the topic, Lessons learnt from the world’s greatest team of cataract surgeons.

Aravind-Coimbatore wins grants for improving RoP screening

Aravind-Coimbatore won two grants, one for testing the feasibility of Artificial Intelligence in identifying RoP cases and the other, to expand RoP telescreening to Aravind centres in Pondicherry and Tirupati. During the project period, Aravind-Coimbatore will be closely working with Casey Eye Institute – Oregon Health and Science University and the  University of Illinois, Chicago in research and publications related to the project.

IAPB Eye Health Hero, N. Vengadesan Meets the Queen

October 8

As part of observing World Sight Day on October 8, 2020, three young leaders in the field of eye care delivery were presented with a unique opportunity of participating in a video conference call with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. From India, Mr. N. Vengadesan of Aravind Eye Hospital, Pondicherry joined the call, while the other two were from Australia and the UK. Mr. Vengadesan was selected as “Eye Health Hero 2019” by the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). During the call, he briefed the Queen about the need for eye care in India, barriers to accessing care and the need to innovate constantly towards improving the quality of eye care delivery. The significance of the theme for this year’s World Sight Day, “Hope in Sight” was discussed. Mr. Vengadesan also interacted with the Her Royal Highness, Countess of Wessex during the call.

World Sight Day

Aravind, October 8

Aravind Eye Hospitals across the centres observed World Sight Day with a variety of programmes intended to create awareness on eye care amongst the general public. An awareness webinar titled, “Kannae Nalamaa” was organised for the public on October 8. Senior doctors – Dr. R. Ramakrishnan, Dr. K. Veena, Dr. Karthik Srinivasan, Dr. V.R. Saravanan, Dr. R. Naveen and Dr. Raghuram gave informative talks on various eye problems. The session was moderated by Dr. S.R. Krishnadas and Dr. Usha Kim. Articles on eye care were published in the print media. Dr. Kalpana Narendran gave a talk on Polimer Channel. Dr. Kowsalya Balaji gave awareness talk on eye problems like diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma on All India Radio. A video contest was arranged for staff across all the centres. A special Grand Rounds was conducted during which Mr. G. Srinivasan and Dr . GN Rao shared their thoughts about the journey of Aravind. Awareness messages in the form of jingles were shared through Radio Mirchi. Aravind-Coimbatore opened its official YouTube channel named, “Aurocovai” to create eye care awareness and offer training.  Aravind-Salem organised an exhibition named Kanne during October 8-15. The exhibition had four stalls and more than 22 working models for creating eye care awareness. Close to 1200 patients/ attendants visited the stall.

Village Volunteer Programme

Vaiyampatti, October 14

Aravind has suspended its outreach activities due to COVID-19 restrictions. As an alternative, LAICO has initiated a project named Community Referral System. The project aims to mobilise patients from underprivileged sections and help them take up Aravind’s services, rather than waiting for free eye camps to happen. LAICO plans to achieve this through four ways, one of which is the Village Volunteer Programme. Aravind enjoys a well-established community network. From the community, volunteers who are willing to offer their support are selected and given one-day training in preliminary eye examination and refer patients to the base hospital. The first training programme was conducted at Vaiyampatti. Over 30 people attended including field workers, staff of Deva Kirubai Social Help Association, an NGO supporting orphan children, village health nurses, Panchayat Vice President, school teachers and members of self-help groups.

Fresher’s day Celebration

Aravind-Chennai, October 4

Fresher’s day is an event that every new student awaits from the day of joining in any college or institution. At Aravind- Chennai, the newly joined MLOPs celebrated their day with a variety of programmes. Each programme was planned and done differently, right from the invitation which was beautifully hand-crafted. The event was organised flawlessly by senior nursing staff – Jeeva, Subbulakshmi, Renuga and Shobana. Beautiful kolams, drawings and models adorned the venue. Ms. Sakthi Priyadharshini and Ms. Kiruthiga anchored the programme. Nursing Superintendent, Ms. Jeeva shared her experiences of being with Aravind for over 30 years.The recruits performeddance and drama. Adding a feather to the programme, Dr.S. Aravind, the Chief Medical Officer addressed the audience and shared a motivational talk.

Library Webinar

Aravind-Coimbatore, October 6

Aravind-Coimbatore in collaboration with the University of Illinois (UIC)conducted the webinarfor the fellows and residents of both the institutes. Ms.Kumaragurupari, Chief Librarian, Aravind-Madurai; Mr.Alagumani, Librarian, Aravind, Coimbatore and Ms Margaret, Senior Research Associate -UIC gave very informative presentations on how to retrieve and publish scientific information. Their concise yet comprehensive talks were well appreciated by all.

Retina Webinar

Aravind-Madurai, October 7

Retina Department of Aravind –Madurai organised the webinar for its alumni. Dr. Dhananjay Shukla handled the session. Dr. R. Kim and Dr. Naresh Babu were the moderators.