Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), which may not be externally visible, can lead to serious and permanent vision loss in premature babies if not diagnosed and treated in time. Under the rural ROP eye care project supported by the Cognizant Foundation, L V Prasad Eye Institute’s Mithu Tulsi Chanrai Campus in Bhubaneswar has introduced an innovative process of tele-screening in real-time for ROP in preterm babies. Probably for the first time, 92 preterm babies were tele-screened in the Sundergarh district of Odisha, India, in just over six hours by the team led by Dr Tapas Ranjan Padhi. Of those screened, three of them were diagnosed with ROP and were treated free of cost at LVPEI’s Bhubaneswar campus.
This process has several advantages over the telecare models available for ROP and immense potential for scalability. This is an integral step toward ensuring the availability and accessibility of ROP care even in remote rural areas and preventing avoidable vision loss in preterm babies.
For Operation Eyesight, starting conversations with the communities where we work has been a key step in improving access to eye health services for women and girls. It has also helped us build gender equality when it comes to accessing local health services more generally.