May 12, 2010
Amrita School of Medicine, Kochi
In the recently concluded Delhi Ophthalmic Society Conference, Dr. Sujithra H. of the Department of Ophthalmology was awarded the best video presentation award for her video, Amritakiranam.
Amritakiranam depicts a teleophthalmic approach to management of diabetic retinopathy in remote areas.
“Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is a time bomb that ticks in the eye till it makes the eye bleed,” explained Dr. Sujithra. The World Health Organization estimates that 75 people go blind everyday due to diabetic retinopathy. “The burden of managing this disease far out-weighs the reach and the extent of currently available eye care services,” she added.
In order to address this shortage, in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organization, Amrita launched its Tele-Ophthalmology program. Collaborating also with Direct Relief International, the program focuses on comprehensive screening, evaluation and management of the disease at the grass roots level.
The traveling Amrita tele-medicine van helps take Fundus photographs of the diseased eye. In addition, Fundus Fluorescein Angiography is also done. The images are transmitted to the Amrita telemedicine hub in Kochi, where a qualified vitreo-retinal surgeon views the image and a treatment/management decision is made.
“The Amrita Tele-Ophthalmology hub provides the technical and logistical support for the outreach program,” shared Dr. Gopal S. Pillai, in-charge of vitreo-retinal services at Amrita.
After the treatment and management decision is made, if laser surgery is required, it can be carried out on-site in the mobile telemedicine van. Real-time transmission of images to Amrita in Kochi enables a senior retinal surgeon to provide technical direction and remotely guide the procedure.
Dr. Sujithra joined Amrita in March 2004. She currently serves as Clinical Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology. What prompted her to undertake this video production?
“We wanted to show that the burden of managing this disease can be overcome. We wanted to share a viable model that is working for us at Amrita and bringing relief to so many.”
Dr. Sujithra has published several papers in research journals and has presented her work in ophthalmic conferences. In June 2008, she was awarded the first prize in south-zonal postgraduate ophthalmology quiz competition. In that same year, she obtained her DNB in ophthalmology.
Congratulations to Dr. Sujithra on her latest achievement.