ROP Surgery Saves Baby’s Sight
Arthur and Lena’s babies — triplets — were premature. The infants, born in the fifth month of pregnancy, weighed a little over one pound each and could fit in the palm of their parents’ hands.
“I would tell them ‘Everything will be alright. We will be going home soon,’” Lena said with tears in her eyes. A few weeks later, Arthur and Lena lost one of their babies, but the other two survived.
At two months old, both surviving infants were diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity, a devastating eye disease found in premature babies that, if left untreated, can lead to blindness. Lillia, the baby girl, had the more severe case. Without immediate surgery she would go blind.
Fortunately for Arthur and Lena’s family, the EyeCare Project’s Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness in Yerevan was able to help. The only eye care center of its kind in the Caucuses, the Center is staffed with highly skilled ophthalmologists and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.
“With the technology we have at the Center even the most difficult and complex forms of childhood blindness… those children will have a fighting chance,” said Dr. Thomas Lee, Director of the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and an AECP volunteer.
Doctors performed the delicate surgery on Lillia at no charge and Lillia’s sight was saved.
When doctors told Lillia’s mother the surgery was a success she was stunned and replied with hope, “You mean she can see?”
“Yes, she can see now,” the doctor said. “She will have sight.”
Almost one year later, Lillia and her twin brother are happy, healthy and full of life. Extraordinarily grateful for their eyesight, Lena said, “The work of our Armenian doctors and your American sponsors had a huge impact on our lives. Thank you.”
Their father added, “The work you do saves lives.”