Hyderabad, February 2023: L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) crossed a major milestone in preventing avoidable blindness in newborn babies by managing 1,00,000 preterm babies for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) across its network centres in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. ROP is a blinding eye disease and an emerging epidemic of the 21st century. Babies born early (premature) or with low birth weight (less than 2 kg at birth) are at the risk of developing ROP. To mark this milestone achievement, the LVPEI team launched the unique, one-of-its-kind atlas ‘LVPEI Atlas of Retinopathy of Prematurity and other Neonatal Retinal Diseases’ – a useful guide for clinicians, researchers, healthcare personnels and policy makers.
LVPEI is the pioneer in starting ROP screening and management program in India. It was first started in 1998 in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and later extended to the tertiary centres of LVPEI in Bhubaneswar, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam. Over 1,00,687 babies from across the country and neighbouring countries have been managed for ROP by providing preventative, curative and rehabilitative care. Of these, 64,000 babies have been managed at LVPEI’s Kallam Anji Reddy campus in Hyderabad, 17,000 at the Bhubaneswar campus, 9000 at the Vijayawada campus, 8000 at the Visakhapatnam campus and 9500 through the LVPEI rural secondary centres. Among those identified with ROP, 6685 babies (20,362 eyes) were safely operated, 4559 babies (10,273 eyes) received lasers, and 1510 babies (2901 eyes) received injections to manage difficult stages of ROP.
“Each treated baby can take anywhere from 1-4 hours of focused care by the team followed by months and years of follow-up care to achieve the best possible vision for these babies by the time they enter school life. Additionally, the ROP program has significantly contributed towards training over 350 healthcare professionals, including nurses from across the country, and setting up neonatal anaesthesia and care units and neonatal rehabilitation and early intervention programs for the first time within eye care hospitals in India. The learnings from the program have resulted in twenty-five scientific publications and reports on better management of ROP babies,” said Dr Subhadra Jalali, Network Director, Newborn Eye Health Alliance (NEHA), L V Prasad Eye Institute.
The launch of ‘LVPEI Atlas of Retinopathy of Prematurity and other Neonatal Retinal Diseases’ is another important milestone in the care and management of newborn babies. The atlas, supported by an educational grant from Carl Zeiss India, contains 100 ROP images of varying disease severity and in different clinical situations – entire spectrum of ROP presentations, follow-up, pre and post treatment and its natural history.
“Taking fundus photographs (images of the interior surface of the eye – retina) of tiny babies is not an easy task and requires tender handling coupled with efficient technology. This atlas is a great tool for clinicians and health care professionals to better understand ROP and other neonatal eye diseases and their management,” said Dr Akash Belenje, Consultant, Anant Bajaj Retina Institute, LVPEI Prasad Eye Institute.
Dr Belenje along with Mr R Ugandhar Reddy, Optometrist at LVPEI, have compiled the images for this atlas.