• Unsung Heroes: Amod Gupta, MBBS, MS

    Feb. 24, 2020

    Persistence, diligence and commitment to patients animates everything Dr. Amod Gupta does, whether he’s building an eye care center or making a novel clinical discovery.

    “Dr. Amod is indeed the epitome of how things can be done,” said Sushmita Kaushik, MD. “He taught me to dream. And to ask, why not!”

    Asking "why," is how Dr. Gupta identified the link between uveitis and tuberculosis. While he was still in medical school, even before he started training in ophthalmology, he became fascinated with angiograms and the opportunity they offered to learn about diseases. He would make observations and then search the journals, looking for precedents and comparing findings.

    Over the years, he and his colleague created a database of thousands of cases. This painstakingly curated database not only helped educate ophthalmology students at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, it became the key to his eventual discovery that tuberculosis is a major part of uveitis in India.

    About 8.7 million people have tuberculosis worldwide, with nearly 3 million deaths attributed to the disease each year, according to the World Health Organization. While tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, it can affect other organs, including the eyes.

    As he examined angiogram after angiogram from patients with posterior uveitis, it became clear that what he was seeing was different from the posterior uveitis described in Western literature. So, he started analyzing aqueous samples from patient’s eyes. His observation was correct. His patients were suffering from intraocular tuberculosis.

    He then went on to describe the clinical characteristics of retinal vasculitis in patients who tested positive for tuberculosis, leading to a membership in the International Uveitis Study Group. More work led to the recognition and description of serpiginous-like choroiditis as a manifestation of choroidal tuberculosis.

    Dr. Kaushik admires Dr. Gupta's ability to simply find solutions to problems that confound others. She said he applied the same tenacity to developing the Advanced Eye Center, which recently opened on the Chandigarh campus. It was an 18-year endeavor that he helped build almost brick-by-brick, “by just persistence, coupled with his hard work and a commitment to purpose,” she explained.

    “Professor Amod has taught me to believe in myself, to be diligent and honest in my work and take pride in it,” Dr. Kaushik said. “He has demonstrated how problems should be solved and not lamented upon”

    Ophthalmology has an abundance of unsung heroes who save sight, sometimes overcoming great challenges to deliver medical and surgical eye care. During 2020: Year of the Eye, the Academy is featuring stories about some of these heroes. Their colleagues nominated them for quietly serving the underserved, mentoring the next generation and sharing their skills with the world.