‘Act proactively to prevent blindness in premature babies,’ says Dr R V Azad

According to experts around one lakh children are affected with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in India. Lack of screening facilities and poor referrals is one of the challenges before the country when it comes to tackling the disease

‘Act proactively to prevent blindness in premature babies,’ says Dr R V Azad

In India around 30,000 babies are going blind every year because of retina related disease seen in premature children. The challenges before the ophthalmologists are to fight against this disease and preventive steps to be taken so that children don’t lose their eye sight. This issue was discussed at length by the experts present on the second day of Bombay Ophthalmologists’ Association Focus 2017 conference at Grand Hyatt Regency hotel in Mumbai.

The disease is known as Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), and it is most prominently occurs in premature children. It happens when the newly developing fragile blood vessels break and inflate.

According to experts, around one lakh children in India are affected with this eye condition. Lack of screening facilities and poor referrals are some of the challenges which have to be faced when it comes to tackling this disease.

‘Act proactively to prevent blindness in premature babies,’ says Dr R V Azad
Dr R V Azad

Dr R V Azad, an ophthalmologist based in Delhi and Chairman of the ROP Symposium session at the conference here said, “When any child goes blind it adds up to become a huge financial burden on the government and society. When screening facilities and expertise are not sufficiently available in our country, telemedicine is another option to go ahead with. The use of telemedicine in fighting ROP is rising steadily in India.”

During the session, two challenging cases and surgical options for ROP were discussed at the conference.

Dr Azad emphasised that treatment for the ROP costs around 20,000 to 30,000 rupees. Experts pointed out that paediatricians and ophthalmologist should be made more and more aware about the disease for early intervention and effective treatment.

Development of ROP in any child depends on conditions like the weight of the child and the gestational period. Experts say that ophthalmologist should examine a premature child for ROP within the first month since the infant’s birth.