Dr Honavar Becomes the First Indian Ophthalmologist to Receive the Highest Award of Royal College of Ophthalmologists, UK

Hyderabad:  Dr Santosh G Honavar from Centre for Sight, Hyderabad and Editor of the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology achieves the unique distinction of being the first Ophthalmologist from the Indian subcontinent to be bestowed upon this honor.

Dr Santosh G Honavar, Director of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery and Ocular Oncology, Centre for Sight Eye Hospital, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, and Editor of the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, has been conferred with the very prestigious Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, London, UK.

Dr Santosh G Honavar is the first Ophthalmologist from the Indian subcontinent to be recognized with the Honorary Fellowship, the highest award of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, which is bestowed upon individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Ophthalmology. The highest accolade of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists – the Honorary fellowship is awarded to the most accomplished ophthalmologists in the World, and only 48 such awards have been made since inception, with a chartered limit of only 100 ever.

In the citation by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, it was stated that “Dr Honavar is widely considered the father of ocular oncology of the Indian subcontinent and is credited with establishing adult and pediatric ocular oncology as dedicated subspecialties. His efforts have led to improved quality of care for countless eye cancer patients” and “It indeed is a great pleasure to see Dr Santosh G Honavar now become the first Ophthalmologist from the Indian sub-continent to be awarded the prestigious Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.”

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists regulates the curriculum, training, examination, and certification of ophthalmologists in the United Kingdom. It was established by the Royal Charter by the amalgamation of the Faculty of Ophthalmologists and Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom, and the history of the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom dates to 1880 as one of the first professional societies in Ophthalmology in the World.

Dr Honavar is a nationally and internationally acclaimed ophthalmologist, having been previously awarded the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award by the Government of India for his path-breaking research on the childhood eye cancer Retinoblastoma, Jerry Shields Award by the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, the Peter Rogers Oration by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgeons, and more recently, the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, again, the first ever Indian ophthalmologist to have achieved this distinction.

Dr Honavar was trained at Bangalore Medical College, Bangalore; Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, New Delhi and Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, USA. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Formerly the Director of the Department of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery and Ocular Oncology, Director of Ophthalmology Residency Program and Associate Director of LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, Adjunct Professor at the Case Western Reserve University and University of Rochester School of Medicine, USA. Dr Honavar currently heads the Department of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery and Ocular Oncology and National Retinoblastoma Foundation at Centre for Sight, Hyderabad and leads the Medical Services team and the educational wing – CFS Education. Centre for Sight is the leading network of over 50 tertiary care eye hospitals in India and is supported by the Mahindra Group.

Dr Honavar is also the Chief Editor of the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, which is a 69-year-old flagship monthly professional medical journal of the All-India Ophthalmological Society. The journal publishes articles on ophthalmology and vision science. He is best known for his research on retinoblastoma, and this has made significant impact on the diagnosis, management, and outcomes in the Indian sub-continent. Protocol-based management, use of intravitreal topotecan for vitreous seeds, multimodal treatment for orbital involvement has helped achieve >98% life salvage and >80% eye salvage in retinoblastoma patients. He has also successfully introduced other innovative treatment modalities such as brachytherapy for corneal and sclera invasion of ocular surface squamous neoplasia, multi-modal therapy for advanced orbital tumours including a protocol for the management of adenoid cystic carcinoma of the lacrimal gland, which is now used across the world. He has helped develop a low-cost indigenous Ruthenium plaque and through this and other efforts, is managing to make the care of eye cancer affordable to the common man. He has over 270 publications in peer reviewed journals and has written several book chapters. The significance of his academic contributions can be gauged by his high citation indices with over 8800 citations, H-index of 51 and i10-index of 169.

Dr Honavar led the International Council of Ophthalmology Oculoplastic fellowship curriculum development committee and the Oculoplasty section of the residency curriculum development committee. He is also on the ICO panel for ICD-11 and AJCC-8 committees. He recently completed his term as the President of the Asia Pacific Society of Ocular Oncology and Pathology and as a member of the Oculoplasty Program Committee of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He is currently the Scientific Program Coordinator of the Oculoplastics Association of India. Dr Honavar runs a very active fellowship program in Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery and Ocular Oncology and has trained over 80 national and international fellows. He also runs the ICO international retinoblastoma fellowship, training young ocular oncologists from Asia and Africa.