Screening for and Treatment of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is an eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants. ROP usually occurs within two or three weeks after birth; so the main challenge is to treat it within the first month. The treatment has to be done within 40 to 72 hours as an emergency. Left untreated, ROP, which usually develops in both eyes, is one of the most common causes of vision loss in childhood and can lead to lifelong vision impairment and blindness.
Key challenges in treating ROP include awareness levels among parents, availability of skilled ophthalmologists to detect and treat the condition and availability of medical equipment needed for diagnosis and treatment. To add to these, ROP does not produce any symptoms that makes a swift diagnosis possible.
Cognizant Foundation, in partnership with reputed not-for-profit organisations and specialist eye hospitals, has launched several projects to screen for and treat ROP. These projects, launched recently, plan to screen over 11,000 premature from underserved sections. Those babies identified with ROP will get treated with laser, injection or surgery depending on the stage of ROP. Treatment is administered either at the district hospital or at the city neonatal centres, depending on the severity of the case.