A Rare Case of Congenital Cataract Left Untreated since Birth, successfully operated at Rangamatia Eye Hospital
This is the story of Bharat Bindhani, a 10-year-old boy, belonging to a remote tribal village in Sudarshanpur Panchayat, Rairangpur, Mayurbhanj. Bharat had cataract in both his eyes since birth, however, due to lack of awareness about cataracts in babies, the disease remained undetected.
Born in a small village named Kautuka, which is 120 km away from District Headquarters – Baripada, Bharat grew up with cataracts in both his eyes. But he never complained about vision-related problems to his parents as he thought blurry vision is normal and everyone sees the world like this.
One day in school, Bharat’s teacher found that he is unable to read the blackboard clearly, despite sitting on the first bench. After a few cross-checks, his teacher realized Bharat has got some problems with his sight. He informed to Bharat’s mother and asked her to take Bharat to the local hospital for an eye check-up. But unfortunately, Bharat was never taken up for doctor consultation.
“Bharat is the eldest son of his parents. His father works as a security guard in Bangalore and mostly stays away from home for months. Bharat lives with his Mother and two small sisters in the village and studies in class 4. His father earns around Rs 10,000 a month in Bangalore and within that amount, he tries to provide for the basics of his family.”
Raising three kids with financial hardship is not easy, especially for a woman, whose husband lives far away. Above that, the cost of treatment, medicine, and transportation to & fro were some other reasons, why Bharat’s mother couldn’t gather the courage to take her son to a hospital. A Few months thereafter, Bharat’s mother – Chhatulmani Bindhani, heard a mike announcement in the village about a Free Eye Screening Camp. Since the camp was free-of-cost and happening in their village itself, she decided to take Bharat to the venue.
The eye screening camp was organized by Mahatma Gandhi Eye Hospital & Research Institute in collaboration with SightSavers India. The Primary objective of such outreach camps is to identify the rural populace who have vision problems and motivate them to avail necessary eye care & treatment without further delay.
An experienced team consisting of an Ophthalmic Assistant, ANM, and Counselor, attends to all the visitors who arrive at the screening camp and thoroughly examines each and every person’s vision. Anyone identified with critical eye disease such as cataract or Glaucoma, be it elderly or kid, is being brought to MGEHRI’s base hospital at Rangamatia for free surgery, done by expert ophthalmic surgeons.
In the outreach camp, Bharat was detected with Congenital Cataracts in both his eyes: VA – HM+ve (L.E), 1/60 (R.E). His mother was immediately informed about this critical eye condition which has been bulking up in Bharat’s eyes since birth.
She understood the seriousness of the disease and after having consent from her husband, she agreed to Bharat’s surgery at Rangamatia eye hospital. On the same date, Bharat and his mother were brought to MGEHRI’s base hospital and the very next day Bharat underwent a Phaco Emulsification surgery procedure with foldable PC IOL insertion in the left eye, by Dr Shipra Rani Paul.
As congenital cataract cases are very rare, every necessary precaution was maintained, ensuring a successful surgery with no complications. Post-operation, Bharat regained his sight and was able to see clearly with his left eye (VA – 6/24). Also, his other eye has been scheduled for surgery after two months.
Bharat’s parents were deeply grateful and thanked the entire MGEHRI family from the core of their hearts.
Cataracts in babies and children are rare.
In India, around 8 in every 10,000 babies are born with cataracts.
Generally, congenital cataract cases are treated within 4-6 weeks after birth. But here in this case, as Bharat belongs to a rural area with a lack of ophthalmic facilities and awareness of congenital cataract, the disease was never diagnosed. But with the intervention of Mahatma Gandhi Eye Hospital & Research Institute and Sightsavers India, Bharat was identified at an outreach camp and provided with advanced cataract surgery & treatment for FREE of COST.