Hope in sight for children

Hope in sight for children

The poor eyesight affected her studies and teachers complained to her parents about her poor academic performance. Concerned, her mother took her to four different hospitals in the City, where she was told that Sukanya would require surgery to correct her vision, something the girl’s family could not afford.

At an eye screening camp set up by Sankara Eye Hospital (SEH) at Sunkanya’s school in August, she was diagnosed with bilateral cataract since birth. The hospital performed the surgery on her right eye and will operate her other eye soon. The surgery was free of cost.

Sukanya is one of the 1,400 visually impaired children detected under the “Nanna Kannu”, a school-screening project for government and aided school students, conducted along with Sightsavers International NGO and the Government of Karnataka.

Discussing the project at an interaction organised by SEH and Sighsavers International on Wednesday, Dr Mahesh Shanmugam, head vitreaoretinal and oncology department, said: “The idea is to create awareness about early diagnosis of eye problems in children, recognise the problem and the treatments available.”

The hospital also launched an animated film –– I learn what I see –– that deals with myopia (nearsightedness) and how it affects the child.

Meanwhile, 50 teachers under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyana from Bangalore Rural district will be trained by SEH doctors from Thursday. The teachers will be briefed on the magnitude of the problem, common visual defects, look into children’s complaints and screen for vision, informed Dr Kaushik Murali, director of the project. “The teachers will act as primary screening staff, who will refer children with some eye problem,” he said.   

SEH will also set up the first radiotherapy unit for treating cancer of the eye among children, by March, 2010. Treatment at the unit would involve surgical insertion of a small coin-size radioactive plaque in the patient’s eye that is removed after three or four days, explained Dr Shanmugam.