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Welcome to the course and week 1

A welcome to this course which introduces practical approaches for health teams to prevent visual loss from retinopathy of prematurity in babies.

Watch the short video on this page where our lead educators, Professor Clare Gilbert and Dr Daksha Patel, introduce you in more detail to the topics you’ll explore in Week 1.

Nyla and her family: A retinopathy of prematurity case study

Nyla was born prematurely at the primary health centre in her village in India. There were no facilities to care for a preterm newborn weighing just 1200 grams so the baby and her parents were transported to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the district hospital in the nearest town.
When she was around 6 weeks old, Nyla was screened for ROP and the ophthalmologist recognised she needed urgent treatment. Unfortunately the hospital had no laser to treat ROP nor was the ophthalmologist trained in laser treatment. So the team arranged for a charitable organisation to pay for Nyla’s treatment at a hospital in the city. To get there, the parents had to travel overnight in an overcrowded bus with their baby daughter. Although they felt intimidated, as they had never been to a big city before, they were determined to do everything they could to get their daughter treated.
When they arrived at the treatment centre, Nyla was immediately admitted and the laser treatment performed free of cost the same day by an ROP specialist who asked the parents to come back after a week. As the parents could not afford to rent a place they slept beside the road outside the hospital.
Illustration of baby Nyla and her parents at the treatment centre a few weeks after she was born
After a week the specialist reviewed Nyla and told her parents that the ROP had started regressing. They were relieved that, despite the challenges, it had been worth it and agreed to continue follow up appointments with the ophthalmologist. Nyla is now 7 months old with a good prognosis and the family continue to travel to the treatment centre every 3 months.

Multiple factors (both social and within the health system) affected the ROP outcome for Nyla. Do you think this case study is a success story? What would have happened to Nyla in your setting? Share your thoughts in the Comments area on this page.

Getting started

To provide high quality, relevant and applicable learning for health care professionals in many countries and different health care settings, this course has been developed as a collaboration between neonatology, ophthalmology and public health experts from around the world.

We are really looking forward to interacting with you over the next four weeks and hope you enjoy this course. The main themes you will cover are:

  • The magnitude of retinopathy of prematurity and how to recognise and classify this condition.

  • The essential steps that need to be taken to reduce the risk of ROP in preterm babies.

  • The principles of screening for ROP and of long term follow up of babies with ROP.

  • Practical approaches to improving the quality of ROP services in your setting.

  • How to ensure that parents remain part of the care process.

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Retinopathy of Prematurity: Practical Approaches to Prevent Blindness

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