The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Eyecare unit in upgrade mode
- Vision clinic offers state-of-the-art treatment, cheaper rates for poor

State-of-the-art surgical procedures for cataract, glaucoma, squint and vitreo-retinal surgeries; ophthalmic ultrasonography, lasers and angiography; imported, branded, time-tested equipment, infection-free air-locking rooms for instrument sterilisation and much more. All these under one roof, in air-conditioned comfort and “affordable for all”.

After the Rotary Narayana Sankara Nethralaya in Sector V, Salt Lake had raised the bar in cutting-edge eye treatment in Calcutta, another composite ophthalmic care centre on the other end of the Bypass is ready to set fresh standards in eyecare in the metropolis.

Sunetra, established by the husband-wife team of Amitava and Neena Biswas — both formerly with Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai — in 1995 and now functioning from a six-room set-up in Survey Park, Santoshpur, is all set to move into a much bigger campus inside the nearby Bengal Ambuja housing complex.

It is relocating to Unnayan, the community centre-cum-shopping block at Udayan, The Condoville, to fulfil its objectives of providing latest diagnostic, treatment, research and training facilities.

“In its new, expanded avatar, Sunetra would become the city’s most sophisticated composite ophthalmic care unit,” promises Amitava Biswas. The new 7,000-sq-ft Sunetra, a unit of Calcutta Eye Research Foundation, will open its doors to eye patients on December 1.

Sunetra runs on the basic tenets of the Calcutta Eye Research Foundation. These are — to provide primary, secondary and tertiary eyecare for protecting and promoting eye health, to offer training to primary health workers, ophthalmic assistants, nurses, optometrists and ophthalmologists, to establish an environment of academic excellence and subsidise treatment costs of under-privileged patients.

The non-profit-making, registered public charitable trust foundation is managed by a board of trustees. Swami Akhyanandaji Maharaj, president of Bharat Sevashram Sangha, is the chief patron and Swami Biswatmanandaji Maharaj of the same Sangha the president of the foundation.

The total project cost, including development and equipment of the new eye-care centre, is estimated at Rs 3 crore, of which Rs 2 crore was the required start-up capital for the first phase, now almost ready for inauguration.

“We still have a shortfall of Rs 60-70 lakh and hope our well-wishers will come forward to bridge the gap,” says Biswas.

The new campus of Sunetra will boast two ultra-modern operation theatres, 10 beds, including a ward for camp patients, a single-room cabin, an emergency-care corner, a spectacles-dispensing counter, a “comprehensive” library and a fully-computerised paperless database of patient records.

“We have also paid heed to minute details, like using soothing illumination techniques, so that the patients’ eyes are not taxed, besides putting together a biomedical engineer’s workshop, so that all the critical equipment can be constantly monitored. We also have a teaching/training classroom, with audio-visual facilities, which can be used for small, close-circuit workshops as well,” Biswas adds.

Lauding Sunetra’s new venture to upgrade, S.S. Badrinath, the pioneer of modern ophthalmic care in the country and chairman of Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, says: “I am impressed with the meticulousness in their approach and the cleanliness of the elegant facilities they have created. My best wishes to Sunetra for a better and brighter future.”

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