Double victory: Twin sisters overcome Retinopathy of Prematurity

Two baby girls are held by their smiling parents.
Written by Madison Buckley, published on August 2, 2023 Donate Today

“There would be no life without eyesight,” says Vinit, the proud father of twin girls, Ayan and Vyan.  

Last summer, Vinit and his wife Anchal learned that their baby girls were born with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). Together, the family has faced a challenging journey, witnessing the incredible growth and resilience of their precious daughters.  

ROP is a serious eye condition that affects premature and low-birthweight infants and is the primary cause of childhood blindness in this demographic. Vinit and Anchal know just how frightening ROP can be. 

In June 2022, during her seventh month of pregnancy, Anchal gave birth to twin girls in Moradabad, India. Both babies weighed just three pounds and were breathing rapidly. They were rushed and admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to receive treatment for lung infections.  

Ophthalmic technicians conduct laser treatment on a premature infant.

While in the NICU, the doctor treating the girls recommended that they both undergo screening for ROP at the C.L. Gupta Eye Institute, our partner hospital in Moradabad. Following the screening, both girls were diagnosed with severe cases of ROP. 

Vinit and Anchal had never heard of ROP before, nor did they have any idea how severe the condition can be. They feared their children wouldn’t be able to see. After the girls’ diagnoses, the doctor guided Vinit and Anchal through the screening process and showed them images of their daughters’ conditions. 

I feel so lucky we came to know about ROP at the right time,” says Vinit. “If we had delayed a month, then there would be no possibility of a cure.”

There are five stages of ROP and treatment no longer works in the last two stages, ultimately resulting in childhood blindness. However, if identified and screened within one month of pre-term birth, ROP in stage three is completely treatable. This is why early detection is critical. 

From the outside, nothing appeared wrong. However, when Vinit looked at the screens, he saw the severity of ROP. Both Ayan’s and Vyan’s screens showed blood leaking inside their eyes. The doctor explained to the parents that if the girls didn’t receive timely treatment, they would have further complications and possibly lose their vision.  

At just five weeks old, both babies received treatment at the C.L. Gupta Eye Institute. They underwent injections in both eyes, followed by laser treatment later on. Now, Vinit and Anchal take their daughters for regular monthly checkups at the hospital. 

Ophthalmic technicians screen a premature infant at the C.L. Gupta Eye Institute in Moradabad, India.
Ophthalmic technicians screen a premature infant at the C.L. Gupta Eye Institute in Moradabad, India.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the early diagnosis and treatment provided by local doctors, both girls have fully recovered and are thriving today. 

Vinit and Anchal are grateful to Operation Eyesight and the C.L. Gupta Eye Institute. “Every parent hopes the best for their baby and that they are well and grow properly,” explains Vinit. “The hospital has made things very easy. Otherwise, there would be no life without eyesight.” 

We began addressing ROP three years ago in the Moradabad District of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. A local team now regularly visits 40 maternity centres in the area to examine preterm newborns, and the screening programs are working.  

As of June 2023, the program, known as “Born Too Soon”, has screened 253 premature babies, of which 49 were diagnosed with ROP and provided treatment. That is 49 infants who have had their sight preserved thanks to early intervention.  

You can help expand our Born Too Soon program and ensure more families like Vinit’s experience a life free of avoidable blindness.

Please donate today