More than eighty percent of premature babies who weigh less than 1.5 kilogrammes at the time of birth have a high risk of developing the disorganised growth of retinal blood vessels which can cause vision problems including permanent blindness in the country, a leading eye-care hospital said Sunday.
Babies born prematurely, before 226 days, have many obstacles to overcome in their first fragile weeks, one of which is eye development that can be resolved through screening and surgical procedure to help avoid serious eyesight problems later in the life, said the chief of medical services at Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Dr Wajid Ali Khan.
Talking to the journalists, he said that the blood vessels of the retina begin to develop three months after conception and complete their growth at the time of normal birth. If an infant is born prematurely, eye development can be disrupted.
Al-Shifa is the only hospital in the SAARC region and among few in the world having the latest facilities and skills to treat newborns with ROP, he added.
Sor far, Al-Shifa has cured around 5000 infants in the last four years and the number is bound to increase as the awareness grows, he said.
He added, “ we are here to provide free guidance to all the state-owned and private healthcare facilities including those in other countries to help save thousands from plunging into darkness from life”
The hospital has around about 40 high qualified eye surgeons. The hospital is expanding further, which will allow the paediatric department to handle over 500 OPD patients per day in coming years; the current capacity stands at 250-300 patients per day.