Disruptive Stem Cell Treatment

Collaborative research by Dr Sayan Basu working with Prof James L Funderburgh at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, USA, has resulted in the discovery of potent limbal stem cells in the eye that can restore lost sight. Corneal scarring following infection or injury to the eye affects more than 250 million people worldwide and blinds over 6 million of them. Dr Basu found that when the stem cells were applied to damaged corneas, they healed and became clear again

within four weeks of treatment. The research findings were published in Science Translational Medicine on December 11, 2014 and can potentially decrease the need for corneal transplants. Since the stem cells used were from the same person’s eyes there would be no need for donors or fear of rejection and failure. The disruptive new treatment is now in clinical trials at LVPEI.

 
Integrated Fun Camp

The Dr PRK Prasad Centre for Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired held its 17th Annual Integrated Fun Camp on December 13, 2014 at Jalavihar - a popular water park - at necklace Road in Hyderabad. Over 288 participants indulged in the fun and games including the visually impaired and their family.
A similar Fun Camp was organized on December 21, 2014 at Kailasagiri Park, Visakhapatnam. Over 30 visually impaired children and an equal number of siblings, family members, staff and volunteers participated.

 
 
Mobile Apps for Climate Change

LVPEI partnered with World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF) to launch ‘Mobile Apps 4 Climate Change: A Citizen Science Programme for Schools in Metros’ on 9 December 2014.

The project is developed by Dr V Shubhalaxmi, Founder and Director at Ladybird Consulting LLP, who is the sole winner from India of the ‘Alumni Innovation Engagement Fund’ annually announced by the United States Department of International Alumni Exchange. LVPEI’s Ashutosh Richhariya is a member of the alumni team. The project involves development of 3 three mobile apps on urban birds, butterflies and trees.

 
International Day of People with Disability

International Day of People with Disability was commemorated by GPR International Centre for Advancement of Rural Eye Care (GPR ICARE) and Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry (BLSO) with an awareness meet for Vision Technicians and staff members on December 3, 2014.

   
ROP Programs  

@Patna: LVPEI organized a CME on Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) at Divyadrishti Eye Centre, Patna. It was inaugurated by Bihar Health Minister Shri Ramdhani Singh. Dr Raj Vardhan Azad and Dr Subhadra Jalali were guest speakers.
@Kolkata: Dr Subhadra Jalali was invited as chief speaker at the Priyamvada Birla Aravind Eye Hospital, Kolkata on 14 December 2014.

   
 

Awards & Honours

The National Newborn Week 2014 Activities Award was jointly awarded to LVPEI and the Odisha State Branch of National Neonatology Forum (NNF). Subhadra Jalali received the award from the Bihar Minister of Education and Human Resource Development Shri Brishen Patel on 5 December 2014 in Patna.


Tapas Padhi received the 2014 ARVO Foundation/Pfizer Collaborative Research Fellowship Award for his ‘Efficacy of Wide-field Retinal imaging in the diagnosis of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) on a mobile imaging platform’ to be done partly at University of Michigan and partly at LVPEI Bhubaneswar.


Praveen K Vaddavalli has been elected chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Telangana Ophthalmology Society.


The Bausch and Lomb School of Optometry (BLSO) won the award for Educational Excellence presented by the Indo-Global Education Expo & Summit 2014.


Rohit C Khanna received the Prof R P Pokhrel ACOIN NNJS Indo Nepal Friendship Award, 2013 from the Association of Community Ophthalmologists of India (ACOIN) at their 5th Annual Conference in Kolkata, 31 October - 2 November 2014.


Srinivas Marmamula was awarded a Travel Grant for the Asia-ARVO 2015 Meeting to be held in Japan.


Ramam Atmakuri spoke at a panel on ‘Compassionate Leadership’ at the SPIR-IT Summit, 5-6 December, Shantisarovar Retreat Center, Hyderabad.

 

Eminent Visitors/ Updates

Prof Susana Marcos, Professor of Research IO-CSIC and Director of Visual Optics and Biophotonics Lab, Madrid, Spain delivered a Guest Lecture ‘Crystalline Lens, Presbyopia and Its Restoration’; 22 December.


Jasti V Ramanamma Children’s Eye Care Centre at Hyderabad celebrated their 17th anniversary on 1 December. It is the first dedicated comprehensive Children’s Eye Care Centre in the world and first such facility outside the US.


The 18th anniversary of Bhosle Gopal Rao Patel Eye Centre, Mudhole, Adilabad District, was organized on 20 December 2014.


Dr Josie Noah, Director of Surgeon Training, SightLife, Seattle, USA for the DSEK Workshop, 1-5 December.


Rusty Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer, SightLife, Seattle, USA; 1-5 December.


Dr Srinivas R Sadda, Doheny Eye Institute, Los Angeles, USA; 24 December.


Dr Santhan Gopal K S, Strabismologist, Kamala Netralaya; Guest faculty at Vijayawada for the CME ‘Eye on Future’; 27-28 December.


Prof Solomon Darwin, Executive Director, Center for Corporate Innovation, UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business, USA; 18 December.

 
 
CME on Pediatric Ophthalmology

A Continuing Medical Education Program ‘Eye On the Future’ was organized on December 28, 2014, the 4th anniversary of the David Brown Children’s Eye Care Centre at Vijayawada. Vijayawada Academy of Ophthalmology was the joint organizer.

 
DSEK Skills Transfer Course

The second edition of the LVPEI Sightlife DSEK Skills Transfer Course was conducted at the Kallam Anji Reddy Campus in Hyderabad, 1-4 December 2014, with 4 trainees and 3 international faculty.

 
Andhra University Special Education Students’ Program

A Special Education program on Low Vision and Rehabilitation services for children with multiple disabilities was conducted at the GMR Varalakshmi Campus for 26 students of Andhra University Special Education on 20 December 2014.

 
Reviving a rare, “lost” surgical procedure

A unique and rare Open Sky Vitrectomy (OSV) surgery was performed for the first time in India, to a patient in Stage 5 Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), by Dr Subhadra Jalali and Dr Bhupesh Bagga, significantly on Children’s Day 14th November 2014. Not many surgeons in the world can do this “nearly lost” surgical procedure, which was revived and modified by the team after Dr Jalali underwent an evening of mentorship in Boston with Prof Tatsuo Hirose.
OSV was popular in the US and Japan in the 1980s when they had faced an epidemic of ROP blindness in children. Prof Tatsuo Hirose from the Schepens’ Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School had pioneered the surgery and taught it to many of his fellows. With the decline of ROP Stage 5 epidemic in the developed countries (thanks in good measure to the strict implementation of ROP and newborn eye screening guidelines), the surgery slowly went into disuse.
India is currently witnessing a similar spurt in ROP cases where we are now seeing at least 4-5 babies per week at LVPEI with Stage 5 ROP, referred not only from small towns across India but also from the neighbouring countries, especially Bangladesh. While a majority of these cases have a clear cornea and can be operated using closed globe techniques, at least 20-30 % cannot be operated by the more popular technique due to corneal scarring that results from progressive lenticulo-corneal adhesions. Dr Jalali managed to access a couple of precious recordings from the time of Prof Hirose’s active practice (he had lost most of his ‘spool’ tape recordings - those used before the advent of VHS), and meet up with the professor at Boston where he patiently explained the step-by-step procedure that Dr Jalali was able to adapt and use for the first time in India.

 
 
 
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