Dr S. Sasikumar & Dr N. Radhakrishnan
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.
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
- North (Kasargod, Kannur, Wynad & Calicut)
- North Central (Malappuram, Palakkad & Trichur)
- South Central ( Ernakulam, Idukki, Kottayam & Alleppey)
- South ( Kollam, Pathanamthitta & Trivandrum)
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.