The long felt need of the ophthalmologists of Kerala to have a common forum for expressing their views and for group discussion of professional matters was fulfilled on 22nd Dec 1974. On that day Kerala State Ophthalmological Society was inaugurated by Dr. Benedict Rizuti, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, NewYork Medical College at Hotel Dwaraka, Ernakulam. A symposium on cataract was conducted on that day. On the previous days (20th and 21st of December 1974) a workshop on Keratoplasty, Glaucoma and Ptosis surgery and Orbit reconstruction was organised by Dr. Tony Fernandez at Little Flower Hospital Angamali where Dr. Rizuti and Dr. Martin Bodian of Newyork Medical college were the chief faculties.
Other delegates who were present in the meeting were Dr. K Mohandas, Kollam and Dr. K P Mathew and Dr. George Puthooran from Ernakulam. All this was done thanks to the initiative of Dr. Tony Fernandez. He had contacted all the leading Ophthalmologists of Kerala for a discussion at Ernakulam for the formation of the Society. The response was lukewarm except from Ernakulam. The meeting which was chaired by the senior most Ophthalmologist Dr. George Puthooran was attended by about 17 ophthalmologists. The above office bearers were nominated at that meeting. Dr. P T Chacko, the convener of the meeting was authorised to draft a constitution.
Initially the term was for 1 year. Dr. V S Gopinathan’s term as secretary was fixed for 2 yrs and others one year. In 1990 Dr. Radhakrishnan brought in an amendment in the byelaws and the term of all office bearers except president was fixed as two years and two terms for an individual. The byelaw was printed and distributed for the first time to all members along with KSOS car stickers at that time. Dr. P T Chacko, the founder secretary started the society on a firm footing and drafted the constitution of KSOS in the lines of AIOS. Dr. V S Gopinath tried to put some order in the working of the society by maintaining many registers and also designed the emblem of KSOS.
Dr. N Radhakrishnan during his tenure enrolled more than 200 life members and enhanced the membership strength from below 100 to above 300. He issued identity card to life members with membership numbers. The membership applications were properly stored and registers for annual and life members were separately maintained. The financial position was improved by increasing the membership fee (from Rs.100/- to Rs.500/-) and making it obligatory for the organisers of annual conferences to share the proceeds with KSOS. Separate funds – General and Trust funds were maintained. Minutes of the meetings were recorded in the minutes book from 1987 onwards. Stalwarts and seniors of KSOS were honoured by instituting Dr. C.E.Oommen memorial KSOS Lifetime achievement award. The first recipient was Prof. K S Subramanium. Later Dr. E T Kuriakose, Dr S. Tony Fernandez, Prof.T.Gopinatha Menon, Prof.K.V.Prabhakaran and K.Krishnankutty were honoured with that.
Dr. K C Sankara Menon Gold medal award was instituted by Prof. V Sankaran, 4th President of KSOS in 1980 in memory of his late father who retired as the Superintendent of Institute of Ophthalmology (presently Regional Institute of Ophthalmology) Egmore, Madras for the best free paper presented in the conference. The first recipient, Dr. M S Venkitachalam was given the Gold Medal by Dr. V Sankaran. He also donated Rs.5000/- to KSOS to continue this award in the subsequent years. Unfortunately this award was not regular till 1985 due to some technical lapse.
Dr. P Siva Reddy award was instituted in 1992 to encourage participation from members from outside Kerala also. Dr. Siva Reddy donated Rs.10000/- in two instalments in 1991 and 92 to start the award. This was given once in two years and the first recipient was Dr. Bhaskara Rajan from Madurai.
The Dr. K C Sankara Menon award and Dr. P Siva Reddy awards were topped up by KSOS to 1 lakh each in 2014-15.
Dr. T K Alexander memorial Oration was announced in 1994 and the first recipient was Prof. N N Sood in 1995. These two awards were started during the tenure of Dr. C K Ravi as Secretary.
Prof. K S Subramanium memorial award for post graduates was started with contribution from his family and Drishti proceeds from the annual conference at Trivandrum in 1995 through the initiative of Prof. P K Kannan.
Dr. C E Oommen memorial Oration was started in 1999 when Dr. N Jayanth was the Secretary, with contribution of Rs.50000/- from Dr Oommen’s family. The first recipient was Dr. S S Badrinath, Chennai at Drishti Munnar in 1999. The award was topped up to Rs 1 lakh by Dr Oommen’s family in 2014.
Dr. S Tony Fernandez Video award was instituted at the initiative of Dr. Radhakrishnan as the President of KSOS in 2000 with contributions from Cochin Ophthalmic Club and ST charities of Rs. 50,000 each. This was given in Drishti 2000 at Calicut when Dr. C V Anthrayose was the Secretary.
A committee appointed by the then KSOS President Dr. P I Mohan revised the Constitution with Dr. N Radhakrishnan as Chairman and Dr. C V Anthrayose as convenor to get the Society registerd under the Societies Act of 1860. This was passed in 2002 and the Society got registered as Kerala Society of Ophthalmic Surgeons at Calicut. Dr. N Jayanth, Dr. O K Nandagopal and Dr. Saju Joseph were also instrumental in this endeavour. Now KSOS is sharing an Office at IMA house, Kochi with Cochin Ophthalmic Club.
The flagship scientific Journal of KSOS was started as a Bulletin in 1974 with Dr. K E Eapen as the founder editor. Dr. K NarayananKutty took over midway as Dr. Eapen had to leave for Retina fellowship in Vienna, and continued for 2 years. Other bulletin editors were Dr. T P Ittyerah (1977-78) and Dr. K Mahadevan(1979-80). Bulletin was carrying only the organisational matters with only 1 or 2 issues per year. Dr. Ittyerah (1980-84) converted it into a quarterly scientific Journal later- Journal of KSOS. Dr. NSD Raju (1984-88) who followed him improved its contents and appearance.
Dr. K Krishnan Kutty (1989-90) converted it into a bimonthly in the 1st year and monthly next year. He reduced the size of the journal to that of a book for ease of carrying and reading. He also brought out special issues on Migraine, Glaucoma, Uveitis and Contact Lens. His article on innovative techniques under the pen name of “Pisces” increased the popularity of the journal and attracted subscriptions from ophthalmologists outside Kerala and Post graduates. Newsletters For the first time the journal became financially self-sufficient.
The succeeding editor Dr. P I Mohan(1991) reverted to the quarterly format. Dr. K Mahadevan (4 years), Dr. A Giridhar (4 years), Dr. S Sasikumar(2 years), Dr. S J Saikumar(2 years), Dr. Thomas Cherian(2 years), Dr. Meena Chakrabarthi(4 years), Dr. G Mahesh (2 years), Dr. Gopal S Pillai (2 years) have all contributed to the enhancement of the quality of the articles and the presentation of the journal. Dr. S Sasikumar started the KSOS Newsletter (2000) to highlight the organisational matters and also changed the name of the journal to Kerala Journal of Ophthalmology(2000).
At his request a corpus fund of Rs. 3 lakhs as Fixed Deposit was transferred from KSOS general fund, the interest of which was regularly transferred to meet KJO expenses. It was topped up later to 4 lakhs.
In 2008 we started highlighting our senior ophthalmologists in our Newsletter in the form of an interview. The first one to be honoured thus was Padmasree Dr. Tony Fernandez, who was interviewed by Dr. Radhakrishnan. Dr. Asok Natarajan along with Dr. Charles Skaria (President 2014-15) started the process of indexing the journal.
KSOS have also brought out periodic CME series (at least once in 2 years) since 2006. The first Membership directory was brought out by Dr. Sasikumar in 2000 and updated twice in 2006 and 2010.
KSOS started its own website in 2005 and Dr. Noel Moniz was the first Editor. It only had organisational and membership details initially. Later it was upgraded to enable online submission of abstracts of the annual conference - Drishti and payment of KSOS membership and registration for the annual conference.
The first Scientific Committee Chairman of KSOS was Dr. T A Alexander. Dr. Giridhar as the Chairman helped to improve the Scientific Content in a three day format. Strict adherence to timing was enforced when Dr. Noel Moniz was the Chairman.
The KSOS is growing from strength to strength and now it has over 1500 life members. It conducts more than 20 CMEs under its aegis and its Annual Conference –Drishti is a 3 day event of scientific extravaganza.
KSOS have combined annual conferences with SROC thrice - Kanyakumari(1975), Kozhikode (1978), Ernakulam (1994). In Trivandrum(1995) we had conducted our Drishti along with OASIS (Ophthalmic Association of South Indian States).
The KSOS reached this stage due to the sincere and dedicated efforts of its past leaders. There were hardly any activity initially other that the annual conference in November-December months. This was a one day programme with a symposium and a few free paper presentations. The presentations were read out in the initial years which later evolved to overhead projectors, Slide trays and carousels and of late to power point presentations. There were half-day midterm conferences which were abolished in 1990. The Society on its own had conducted 3 CMEs on Squint in Trichur, Glaucoma in Kollam and IOL live surgery in Angamali. The subject and faculty were mainly decided by KSOS then.
It had also conducted AIOC thrice in Ernakulam. In 1984 the venue was St.Teresa’s College and Saritha Theater. In 1999 and 2011 it was at Le Meridian Convention Center. Dr. Tony Fernandez and Dr. Gopinatha Menon were the organisers of 43rd AIOC -1984 with meagre facilities but it was one of the best conferences till then during the era of slide projectors. 1999 and 2011 the AIOC were conducted at the grand Le Meridian Convention center with Dr. NSD Raju and Dr. A Giridhar as the Chief Organising Secretaries respectively.
Initially we only had the annual conference. Our annual conferences(Drishti) graduated from one day to 2 day conferences in 1991(Ernakulam) and to 3 day conferences from 2000(Calicut) onwards. It has presently reached a scientific spread of nearly 60 Instruction courses and symposia, Gold medal examination for Post Graduates, 9 award sessions and two Orations (alternating every year) in 5 airconditioned halls over three days catering to the taste of students, general ophthalmologists and specialists.
The Annual conference of KSOS-Drishti was hosted only by 3-4 out of the 12 District Ophthalmic Clubs till 2016. To encourage all Ophthalmic clubs to take up the challenge of hosting the annual conference thereby not only increasing their financial position but also boosting up the morale and camaraderie among the members of the host clubs it was decided in 2016 to have a rotation policy to select the venue of Drishti by dividing Kerala into 4 zones
Now Drishti will rotate between these zones and the respective Ophthalmic Clubs in the zones can bid for it. Clear guidelines were made to select in case of multiple contenders and penalty clause made for those who don’t stick to the guidelines.
The initial source of finances were only memberships. Later it was made mandatory to share the proceeds from our annual conferences with KSOS. Now a fee is charged from the organisers of various regional CMEs held under the aegis of KSOS. In 2010 an internal audit committee was formed and since 2014 all the funds were audited properly by the committee and great progress was made in streamlining the KSOS accounts. Presently the funds are maintained as Membership fund, Award funds, KJO funds and General funds.
The KSOS over the years has grown from strength to strength as evidenced not only by its growing membership but also the numerous CMEs conducted by its members and the number of our members participating and conducting instruction courses and presentations in various National and International conferences and winning laurels. We have also given two presidents to AIOS- Dr. S Tony Fernandez (1995) and Dr. NSD Raju (2011). Dr. Tony Fernandez and Dr. T P Ittyerah were the Editors of IJO. Dr. NSD Raju (1999) and Dr. Arup Chakrabarti(2017) became the Editor Proceedings.