Premature Babies Prone to Eye Problems

Published: 25th October 2015 05:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th October 2015 05:44 AM   |  A+A-

HYDERABAD: As most of the preterm babies are prone to loss of vision within first four to six months, eye specialists wants  eye checkup mandatory for all preterm babies in India.

“Preterm babies, babies born before 37 weeks of the gestation period, are considered preterm babies. Loss of vision in preterm babies is known as Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). Most of the preterm babies lose eyesight within first six months, as their retina is not completely developed. This is a serious problem in India, which is mostly overlooked,” Dr. Subhadra Jalali, associate director and consultant at Kannuri Santhamma Centre for Vitreoretinal Diseases at LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), said. She also heads LVPEI’s Children’s Eye Care Centre.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), while globally 15 million preterm babies are born every year, the highest number of preterm births are in India with more than 3.5 million babies being preterm.

Many people, even gynaecologists, obstetricians and health professionals involved in the care of new-borns, do not know that preterm babies are prone to loss of vision. Only after four or five months of baby’s growth, parents complain about eye problems, if discoloration or other changes occur in the eye. But by that time irreparable damage had already occurred and the child loses eyesight, explains Dr Subhadra.

About ten to fifteen percent of preterm babies born in India lose eyesight due to lack of awareness. A simple eye test immediately after birth or within 30 days of birth of preterm baby, can prevent this serious problem. Many eye specialists and institutes like LVPEI have also taken up various programmes to prevent loss of eyesight in preterm babies.

LVPEI, under the leadership of Dr Subhadra has set up a tertiary level of excellence for treating end stage ROP, which requires complex vitreoretinal surgery. In fact  Subhadra had dedicated her life for treating infants from ROP and so far more than 12,000 babies have been saved from losing eyesight. Her work has won her Eye Health Leader Award from International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

‘Unhealthy Eating Habits Lead to Obesity’

As World Obesity Day is being observed on October 26, Dr KS Lakshmi, senior consultant, bariatric and metabolic surgery, Global Hospital, highlights the rising epidemic of obesity. As even children are falling prey to obesity, she stresses on the care to be taken for preventing obesity.


How prevalent is obesity today?

Obesity is rising like an epidemic today with more than one-third of the people being either obese or overweight. It is disturbing to see even kids and youth falling prey to obesity. At least 10 to 15 percent of kids are suffering with obesity and while about 30 percent are overweight.


What are the reasons for rise in obesity?

As we all know unhealthy lifestyle is the main reason. Mainly junk food is the prime culprit for rising obesity today. While unhealthy food rich in fat and sedentary lifestyle are the prime causes of obesity, I blame Indian mindset also as the prime culprit for rising obesity?

What do you mean by Indian mindset?

We blindly ape West in bad habits but do not follow good habits. Obesity is a disease of poor people in Western countries with junk food available at cheap prices while healthy food is costly.

The same lifestyle is slowly creeping in India. Also when advise exercise, not even ten percent of patients follow exercise regimen strictly. Unless we change our mindset and make exercise a part of our life, healthy life cannot be achieved. Also obesity has to be considered as a disease rather than  a simple problem.


How much does exercise contribute in preventing obesity?

Exercise plays a great role in keeping a person fit and maintaining healthy body mass index (BMI). People who are slightly overweight or obese can get back to normalcy and become fit by following exercise and good diet. For those whose BMI is more than 35 kg a bariatric and metabolic surgery is needed.


What role does bariatric surgery play in treating obesity?

Bariatric surgery corrects the metabolic error in a person’s body and decreases his weight. Bariatric surgery saves a person from falling prey to more serious life threatening health problems like heart diseases. But even after bariatric surgery one should follow a healthy lifestyle to prevent obesity.

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