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Childhood blindness in premature babies

Retinopathy of Prematurity major cause: Prof Moin

Ophthalmology dept of LGH treats 3,8872 patients last year

By K A Mian

All premature babies who are born earlier than 31 weeks or with low birth weight are more vulnerable to developing the Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), one of the common causes of childhood blindness, which is avertable if it is diagnosed at an early stage.
The ROP usually develops when blood vessels grow abnormally in the eyes. It is more likely to occur in premature babies because of early delivery disrupts normal blood vessel growth. It generally affects both eyes and is the main reason children have vision loss.
The babies who weigh less than three pounds and are born earlier than 31 weeks, need to be screened. No doubt, it can be prevented if it is detected at an early stage. In this regard, a comprehensive but wide awareness campaign is the need of the hour for creating mindfulness to educate the citizens at the government level. At some extent, some awareness walks, rallies and seminars have been conducted to sensitize the general public at department levels.
The Lahore General Hospital (LGH) Department of Ophthalmology Head of Department Prof Dr Muhammad Moin stated these views while exclusively talking to Daily The Business at his office here the other day.
While sharing the statistic data, Prof Moin said that as many as 38,872 patients were screened in OPD of the Ophthalmology last year besides, around 5,798 patients were provided clinical advance care in which 1, 116 were elective surgeries, 553 minor surgeries, 77 emergency surgeries, 777 Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), 2722 and Laser and diagnostic.
He highlighted that the Ophthalmology Department is a 60 bedded tertiary care teaching unit comprising male and female wings of 30 beds each responsible for caring all types of eye patients admitted through OPD or Emergency.
“The Department is divided into three units, two deals with Vitreoretinal diseases while one deal in Oculoplastics and Corneal diseases mainly.
“The department is responsible for teaching and training of undergraduates and postgraduate medical students and nursing staff. The department is also recognised house job training by all examining bodies and PMDC, whereas FCPS / MCPS teaching and training programme recognised by CPSP. The teaching of postgraduate trainees comprises bedside teaching, seminars, lectures, journal club, CPC and surgical training under supervision”, he explained.
Prof Moin further explained that the department has six wards, each three for males and females, operation theatre and 13 OPD rooms for various clinical procedures such as ultrasonography, biometry, visual fields, refraction etc. There are three offices for professors, one for associate professor, three for medical officers and a common room. Separate computer room and conference halls along with the laser room are also included in the department.
The department is recognised for providing advance care and surgeries including ROP, vitrectomy glaucoma (is surgery to remove some or all of the vitreous humour from the eye), pterygium (a triangular fleshy mass of thickened conjunctiva occurring usually at the inner side of the eyeball, covering part of the cornea, and causing a disturbance of vision) lipoma (a benign fatty tumour usually composed of mature fat cells) eye cancer and hypotony (is usually defined as intraocular pressure (IOP) of 5 mm Hg or less), he asserted.
He maintained that the most common patients of eye affected workers from trauma (foreign body) are treated in case of emergency usually who don’t use any eye-protective/spectacles during welding and all others eye threatening works.
He warned that whenever people have felt any pain or noticed a change in their eyes, they used any medicine after purchasing locally, whereas most of these medicines are steroid-based which are highly likely to cause glaucoma in the patients. “I strictly forbid the use of any eye medicine without the recommendation of any eye specialist to avoid possible consequences of serious complication,” Moin remarked.
A great number of patients who visited for an eye treatment that’s why they called after some gap which is a major issue of the department, he said, adding that over three million people are suffering from different eye diseases in the country.
The main cause of eye diseases in Pakistan is due to use of contaminated water, dust, smoke and different types of allergies. Prof Moin requested the citizens that they should immediately visit the hospital or any eye specialist in case of any change in their eye, he concluded.

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