Isha was a miracle baby. She was born prematurely at 7.5 months and was only 1.5 kgs. Her lungs were underdeveloped but thanks to development on neo natal care in her village she was given Oxygen therapy and she pulled through much to her parents delight. Little did her parents know that the maturation of her retina had not been completed since she was born early and due to the excess oxygen given the normal blood vessels in her eyes degraded and ceased to develop! Isha would grow up to a beautiful and active baby but something was looming large. There was a 50% chance that Isha would become blind by the age of 4. The girl who got light into the life of her parents, may have to live her life in darkness….
Retinopathy of Prematurity or ROP is a disease of the eye affecting premature babies.
- It is thought to be caused by disorganized growth of retinal blood vessels which may result in scarring and retinal detachment.
- ROP can be mild and may resolve but it may lead to blindness in serious cases.
- In India nearly 2 million children are born prematurely with a birth weight less than 2kgs.
- The incidence of ROP in them is between 38% to 51%.
These children could eventually grow blind by the age of 4.
However there is HOPE. Children who undergo screening within 4 weeks of birth can be diagnosed and early intervention and treatment can cure them.
- Timely referral by paediatricians and meticulous examination by an experienced ophthalmologist is the gold standard for ROP screening.
- Digital retinal imaging is emerging as an important tool for ROP screening. Cost effective Fundus cameras that can be used for infants are being developed.
- Non-ophthalmologists like the neonatal nurses and technicians can be trained to use these digital imaging devices effectively. 4
- The issue of low ratio of Retinal specialist to population can be addressed by using Tele ophthalmology.
- Paediatric ophthalmologists’ services can be extended to the remote areas by electronic transfer of the images captured by these technicians
Multiple studies suggest that tele-ophthalmology provides future strategies for outreach ROP screening and will allow access of diagnostic expertise to underserved areas in developing as well as developed countries
Pellucid, with its mission to eliminate avoidable blindness leveraging innovative technology plans to use its software for the screening of ROP. We are actively working to partner with NGOS to prevent this epidemic of a disease especially prevalent in developing economies like India and China.
To know more about our Pellucid Screen product that can be used for ROP prevention, please contact us.