Baby Saved from Blindness
Mariam came into this world three months premature and weighed just two pounds when she was born. She was anemic and had a low blood count. She also had problems with her sight.
As all premature babies are, Mariam’s eyes were checked by the Armenian EyeCare Project’s ROP — Retinopathy of Prematurity — team and she was diagnosed with ROP. An eye disease found in premature infants, ROP can rapidly turn to a lifetime of blindness if it is not treated. If Mariam did not receive help — and very soon — there was a 100 percent chance she would go blind.
“It was difficult to believe that the child I am holding in my hands might never see,” Mariam’s mother, Marineh, said.
Thankfully, the EyeCare Project was able to help. With the Project’s ROP program, implemented in 2010, the doctors and nurses at the Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness, with its state-of-the-art neonatal intensive care unit, are now able to screen premature infants, diagnose ROP at its earliest stage and treat the blinding eye disease before it’s too late.
Because of the Project’s ROP program, most premature infants in Armenia who have the disease are treated immediately and can avoid a lifetime of blindness. “Without this program, Mariam would have been blind,” ophthalmologist Nune Hakobyan said. “Now, there is nothing wrong with her eyes.”
Baby Mariam can see her loving parents and play with her older brother — something Mariam’s father, Michael, says she loves to do.
“A huge weight has come off my shoulders,” Michael said. “I’m speechless.” Mariam’s mother added: “To this day, I still believe that a miracle took place.”