The World Health Organization reports there is an estimated 1.4 million visually-impaired children worldwide. They are either born blind or lose their sight before turning five. Almost 40 percent of the causes of childhood blindness are preventable or treatable, including retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), an eye disease among premature babies.
“ROP occurs when the formation of normal retinal vessels is incomplete and there is subsequent development of abnormal blood vessels. This causes the retina to detach from the back of the eye, leading to vision loss,” said Dr. Pik Sha Chan-Uy, a resident expert of the Pacific Eye and Laser Institute (PELI).
ROP is classified into five stages. Stages 1 and 2 can be resolved without any treatment while Stages 4 and 5 may require surgical treatment right away. “It’s best to catch ROP at Stage 3 where immediate and proper treatment can be done to improve the baby’s chance for normal vision,” added Dr. Chan-Uy.
A vision of healthcare expertise Christopher and Diane Veluz were worried when they found out their daughter, Carmela Angela, had ROP. “Since our baby was born prematurely, her pediatrician advised us to have her eyes checked at PELI,” said Christopher.
PELI Surgicenter in Makati, aAn eye checkup confirmed Carmela had ROP and she was given treatment right away. Dr. Chan-Uy monitored her development and gave her periodic check-ups.
Now four months old, Carmela is recovering well. “PELI has helped us save Carmela’s eyesight, thanks to their medical expertise, efficient service, and genuine care. We’re very thankful for everything that they’ve done for our baby,” said the parents.
Constant care Dr. Chan-Uy advises parents to have their babies’ eyes checked by an ophthalmologist. “This is a must especially for infants who had medical problems after being born, such as those who had infection and those who needed blood transfusion. They should have an eye examination one month after birth,” she said.
Dr. Chan-Uy stressed the importance of vigilant monitoring and timely intervention. “A lot of parents are not aware of ROP. Sadly, we sometimes see patients who already have severe ROP and it’s too late to save their eyesight.”
Full-term babies are not exempt from eye problems and parents should also monitor whether they exhibit any unusual behavior like not making any eye contact. “Babies should be given routine eye checkup when they reach six months old, so doctors can detect whether they have any eye condition”, according to Dr. Chan-Uy.
Committed to delivering top-quality, comprehensive eye care, PELI aims to be one of the premier eye-care centers in Asia. Boasting of the most advanced equipment, it is composed of highly skilled ophthalmologists who are trained at prestigious schools such as Harvard, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Chan-Uy is among the resident experts of PELI. She has the distinction of being the first graduate to complete the Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus fellowship program at the world-famous Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary of the Harvard Medical School.
PELI is located at 50 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air, Makati City. PELI also has clinics in Quezon City and Binondo, Manila. For more information about PELI’s services and to find out more about ROP, visit www.pacificeye.com.ph.