Enhancing Vision, Touching Lives

Dr Sean Da Silva speaks on his journey as an ophthalmologist and plans as Medical Director of ASG Eye Hospital, Goa

Life is very different lately for 26 year old Seema. She can enjoy her life free from spectacles and engage in outdoor activities which has made her life colourful. Born with high myopia and wearing glasses from her school days with 8.0D lenses Seema underwent LASIK Surgery with Dr. Sean Socrates Da Silva at ASG Eye Hospital, Goa and is now excited to pursue her career in hospitality and plan her wedding later on this year.

“I have performed more than 2,000 LASIK, ICL Surgical procedures in patients who do not wish to wear glasses and the results have been gratifying. I have also performed several corneal transplantation surgeries include Penetrating
Keratoplasty, Deep anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty and Endothelial transplantation. The youngest patient we had was a six year old girl from Yemen who was bilaterally corneal blind with glaucoma. We were fortunate to be able to restore functional vision in one eye so she could resume school and all her normal activities,” says Dr Sean.

Having worked the past years at Bangalore before locating to Goa hasgiven Dr Sean a wealth of expertise in handling routine and complicated cataract procedures, Premium (Trifocal and Toric) Intraocular lenses and Fem to second Laser Cataract Surgery with the Catalys platform. Dr Sean began his journey from Rosary High School, Miramar standing first in Grade 10 and then went on to pursue Science at Dhempe Higher Secondary school. The third child in a family of five; his parents were instrumental in ensuring that they all did well in their studies. Dr Sean gives credit to his teachers who encouraged him along the journey. He played football for his school and college team and
loves western dance and music.

Dr Sean wanted to do something wherein he could contribute to society. “It was partly my father’s dream to
have me join medicine and somewhere deep within I also wanted to do something where I could contribute and be of service to society. I firmly believe that whatever I am today would not have been possible without divine blessings and hard work.”

Dr Sean is the Medical Director at ASG Eye Hospital at Caranzalem. “The field of Ophthalmology has always been exciting and challenging. From the good old days where cataract surgery was done manually, evolving now to a quick painless sight restoring surgery. No other field of medicine has witnessed such a massive wave of transformation
due to technological advancements. I was very eager after completing my post graduation to specialise in Corneal Transplantation which was not done in Goa at that time. Also to be able to bring a patient from darkness to light by restoring their vision is a God given opportunity that I am thankful for.”

An Alumnus of Goa Medical College, MBBS (2002) and MS Ophthalmology (2006) he went on to complete a Clinical
Observership in Cornea at L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad and then a long term fellowship in Cornea and Anterior Segment at Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai. This formed a strong foundation and with further training at Sankara Eye Hospital, Coimbatore in Phacoemulsification Cataract Surgery. He commenced his career at Sankar Foundation; Vishakhapatnam and developed the Corneal Transplant and Cataract Unit over a two year period.

Despite travelling all over South India for the past 14 years, Goa has always been calling Dr Sean back home. “In December 2008, when I was down for christmas vacation I was called on to perform the corneal harvesting after the untimely demise of my dear friends father Professor Kashinath Kelekar. The Rotary Eye bank of Goa and Goa Medical College provided the necessary help and this paved the way for eye donation and eye banking in Goa. In April 2010, I performed the first corneal transplant at Vrundavan Hospital, Mapusa with the assistance of Rotary Club of Panaji.”

However to further train in LASIK and Refractive Surgery, Dr Sean went on to spend three years at Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai under the doyens of Ophthalmology; Dr M Srinivasan and Dr N V Prajna and then worked with Dr D Ramamurthy, Chairman: The Eye Foundation Coimbatore, A pioneer in refractive surgery and Past President of All India Ophthalmological Society. As Medical Superintendent of the new branch at Bangalore for the past eight years (2013 to 2021) Dr Sean was successful in establishing an excellent Tertiary Eye Hospital at Bellandur, well recognised for their work in East Bangalore.

He is also an Assessor for Hospitals under National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare providers (NABH), a constituent body of Quality Council of India which focuses on quality in healthcare delivery and has an MBA in Hospitals and Health Systems Management from BITS Pilani Rajasthan.

Dr Sean adds, “I have always loved teaching and academics. In addition to several publications in peer reviewed journals and textbooks I have participated as a speaker in several state and national level conferences and forums.”

Dr Sean then goes on to speak about his role as Medical Director of ASG Eye Hospital, Goa. “It was providence that I met with the ASG Eye Hospital team founded by Dr Arun Singhvi and Dr Shashank Gang. I was thankful to see Dr Arun also keen to establish a tertiary eye care centre in Goa. They have left no stone unturned in providing Goa with the very latest equipment and excellent infrastructure to make excellence in eye care a reality. I have the privilege to be part of an experienced team along with Dr Chandraprakash Oli (Cornea, Cataract, and Refractive Surgeon – LVPEI Hyderabad) and Dr Aditya Kajave (Vitreo Retina Services- Aravind Pondicherry) as full time consultants and visiting consultants for squint and oculoplasty.”  In the past seven months in addition to providing premium cataract surgery with latestintraocular lenses, Dr Sean and his team have treated more than 720 patients with Retinal disorders and performed 35 complicated vitreoretinal surgeries.

“We also have the Pentacam Imaging system and CL UVR corneal crosslinking laser for treatment of Keratoconus. Q LASIK, ICL and Bioptics have been performed for patients to get rid of their glasses and it is an amazing experience to see the joy on their faces the next day waking up to a new world. We intend to start Stem cell and Corneal transplantation work shortly. We are keen to ensure that ASG becomes a centre of excellence for eye care in Goa and patients do not need to travel outside the state for these treatments.”

Dr. Sean further adds, “Creating awareness about preventable blindness and encouraging patients above 40 to have a yearly retinal examination will go a long way in maintaining a healthy vision.”

Dr Sean and his team have some ambitious plans as far as eye care in Goa goes. “It is a privilege to lead a welltrained
team of eye specialists in different areas of expertise at ASG Eye Hospital, focussed on delivering the best quality eye care at an affordable cost to the people of Goa. We are keen to reenergise the eye banking and corneal transplant programme in Goa with the help of Goa Medical College and Rotary Club of Panjim. We have received tremendous support from Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane in the endeavour. The DDSSY scheme has provided financial assistance to the people of Goa.”

Speaking on his inspiration and support system Dr Sean credits his family. “My wife Dr Natasha and daughter Nicole
are a pillar of strength and support. I have been blessed to always have the love and support from my parents and siblings. Dad would have been indeed proud if he was alive today. I am sure his  prayers and God’s blessings have been guiding me along my path. The words of late Dr G Venkataswamy, founder of Aravind Eye Care System ‘Intelligence and capability are not enough. There must be the joy of doing something beautiful’, motivates me each day to give my best to every patient walking through our doors.” It is the love and blessings that we receive from our patients which is our best reward.”

Healthcare organisations are faced with challenges in reaching out to the remote villages and ensuring that costs are affordable to the poorer sections of society as well. The mission of ASG Eye Hospital is “To make available to every individual, the best quality of health care treatment and solutions irrespective of their awareness, knowledge, and financial status and for this purpose to create a pool of trained and skilled health care professionals whose skills and knowledge are at par with the best in the world.”

As far as future plans are concerned Dr Sean says, “Telemedicine in the field of Ophthalmology with trained optometrists at PHCs covering the remote parts of Goa and providing timely help and advice without needing the patient to travel long distances is the way to go in the future to ensure continuity of care. We are working to formulate a sustainable model and look forward for support from the Government of Goa.”

Right now, Dr Sean and his team are at the beginning of their journey in Goa. “Working with a larger team of full time ophthalmologists on board, catering to patients from India and abroad and starting a training programme for young ophthalmologists in Goa at par with the best in the world is a road map we plan to charter,” he adds. “ASG Eye Hospitals recently acquired the Vasan group of hospitals and is poised to become the largest eye care organisation in India providing specialised care under one roof. Leveraging the wide network of hospitals and medical expertise will ensure the best quality of treatment for patients across the various centres”

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