Born Too Soon

Born Too Soon – Preventing Childhood Blindness

Operation Eyesight is partnering with hospitals to eliminate blindness among newborns due to Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) – one of the major emerging causes of childhood blindness in India.

Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is a serious disease that affects premature and low-birthweight infants and is the primary cause of childhood blindness in infants less than 34 weeks (8 months) old. It happens when blood vessels develop abnormally in the retina and can’t transport the oxygen required.  Without early treatment, this devastating condition leads to irreversible childhood blindness.

In India, there are about 3.5 million premature births annually, and over 150,000 are liable to develop Retinopathy of Prematurity. The latest study in 2010 showed that at least 5,000 Indian newborns developed severe ROP, with nearly 3,000 of them experiencing vision loss. And numbers have been on the rise…  

Our campaign, Born Too Soon, will bring comprehensive eye care and screening to newborns at risk and will help make ROP a thing of the past in India.

Using a specialized tele-ophthalmology platform, we will screen newborns at risk of ROP in select Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) across the country. Thanks to leading-edge technology, certified ophthalmic technicians and experts will be able to provide remote diagnosis and referral for at-risk infants and their families, without the need to visit a hospital. Infants who are diagnosed with ROP will receive referral to our partner hospital for further testing and treatment. Typically, premature infants should receive screening within the first 30 days of life. 

Our goal is to screen 1,000 infants for ROP and we expect to treat 50 infants for this debilitating condition. This is all made possible through the generosity of donors.

Together, we can strengthen India’s neonatal health care system and bring quality, affordable and accessible eye health care to families who need it most.

Future for families – Vinit know just how frightening Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) can be. Last summer, his wife Anchal gave birth to two premature twin girls. Thanks to early intervention by our ROP screening programs, the disease was caught and treated in both baby girls while they were receiving care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), preventing childhood blindness.

Because of this early intervention, Vinit and Anchal’s daughters are thriving today. “I feel so lucky to know [about ROP] at the right time,” Vinit says. “If we had delayed a month, then there would be no possibility of a cure.”

Here’s how you can help

Donate today and help make childhood vision loss and blindness from ROP a thing of the past.