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Indian J Ophthalmol. 2019 Jun;67(6):726-731. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_700_18.

India to gear up to the challenge of "third epidemic" of retinopathy of prematurity in the world.

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Department of Vitreo-Retinal Services, Pushpagiri Vitreo-Retinal Institute, West Marredpally, Secunderabad, Telangana, India.


Many of the causes of childhood blindness are avoidable, being either preventable or treatable. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) remains one of the most preventable causes of childhood blindness worldwide. Currently, India is facing the third epidemic of ROP. In India, the health system involving the mother and child health services needs to be strengthened with a policy to cover the existing inadequacies in neonatal care and implementation of program covering newborn, especially premature. The access, availability, and affordability of services related to the care of premature babies need strengthening in India. ROP-trained ophthalmologists and neonatal care pediatricians and a professional togetherness is a big issue. Inadequacies in awareness of ROP among the parents, health care workers, counsellors add up to the problem. Community-based health workers such as Accredited Social Health Activist are a good dependable force in India and are needed to be trained in awareness and establishing a proper identification for prompt referral. ROP prevention needs a multidisciplinary team approach. ROP management stands as a good example of all the strategies for prevention, which includes primary prevention (improving obstetric and neonatal care), secondary prevention (screening and treatment programs), and tertiary prevention (treating complications and rehabilitation to reduce disability). Given its demographic and cultural diversity, India faces numerous challenges, with significant rural-urban, poor-rich, gender, socioeconomic, and regional differences. So, we need to gear up to face the present challenge of the third epidemic of ROP and prevent ROP-related childhood blindness as it is the need of the hour.


Childhood blindness; ROP awareness; prevention; retinopathy of prematurity

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