Premature babies vulnerable to retinopathy

Kathmandu, October 22

Cases of retinopathy of prematurity— a disease mostly found in premature babies— are increasing of late. One in every four premature babies is diagnosed with RoP in the country.

Prakriti Basnet (name changed) gave birth to a baby in her seventh month of pregnancy and the baby was diagnosed with RoP. The baby had to be taken out of mother’s womb as she had high blood pressure.  Similarly, a two-month-old baby from Ilam is also suffering from RoP. According to doctors, both of his eyes got infected and require operation. He too was born in seven months and his weight was just1.7 kg at the time of birth.

“RoP occurs among premature babies due to which abnormal blood vessels grow in retina, and this growth can cause retina to detach from the back of the eye, leading to blindness,” said Dr Sanyam Bajimaya consultant cataract and retina surgeon at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology.

Cases of premature delivery are on the rise and this increases chances of RoP in newborns. According to Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital, 100 out of 1,500 births were premature.

“Four to five cases of RoP are reported in the hospital every week. Nepal is among top 10 countries with high rates of RoP,” said Bajimaya, adding, “Premature birth affects physical and mental growth of babies. If a baby diagnosed with RoP is not given timely treatment, there are high chances that the baby might lose his/her eyesight.”