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Developments since July 2008

There is now an average of 10,000 Outpatients appointments (25% without charge) and 1,000 surgeries per year (50% without charge) at the Miriam Hyman Children's Eye Care Centre. There has been a steady increase in the numbers of patients seen every year. Overall progress has therefore been significant, particularly for non-paying patients.

Here is a history of the MHMT's projects supporting the expansion of services at the MHCECC

On the first anniversary of the inauguration of the MHCECC in 2009, the paediatric ocular oncology facility opened, with 12 cases presenting with retinoblastoma. In 2018 32 new cases were treated. The extension of service provision and the centralisation of children's eye cancer facilities at the MHCECC maximises convenience and minimises distress for patients and their families, who usually travel long distances to visit the Centre. Since then hundreds of children have been treated for eye cancer. In many cases, vision was restored and lives were saved, with a 75% to 80% five year survival rate. Every child who has an eye removed to save life is cosmetically rehabilitated.

In June, 2010 a RetCam Shuttle was acquired for the MHCECC, one of only eight in India at the time. This scanner detects pathological conditions of the retina, particularly in premature and underweight babies whose retinal blood vessels are not completely formed at birth, called Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). Only timely detection and laser treatment can prevent irreversible blindness. Since 2010 the MHCECC RetCam has been used to screen over a thousand pre-term babies, and hundreds have had their sight saved.

The mobile unit makes it possible to capitalise on the portable RetCam Shuttle, transporting it to maternity units and clinics in the district surrounding the Institute, and bringing babies and their families for the necessary laser treatment. This vehicle is also invaluable in taking optometrists with eyesight screening equipment and free glasses to children in remote rural areas and urban slums as part of the Outreach Programme.

In 2011 the MHMT Operating Room was upgraded with an additional anaesthesia station adapted for babies and young children, resulting in a 50% increase in examinations under anaesthesia, which is important in children who are too young to obey instructions. There is a new baby warmer that enables safer, cost-cutting anaesthesia and a mounted microscopic camera with accompanying computer and software. All this has resulted in an approximate 10% increase in surgeries and other benefits.

Corneal conditions result in 4% of child blindness in India. Cornea transplant is now the treatment of choice for a carefully selected group of children, for which top quality corneal tissue is essential. This is ensured by use of the £20,000 specular microscope donated by the MHMT in 2011. An additional donation was used for specialist training and testing. Approximately 15 paediatric corneal transplants are performed every year in the MHCECC and increasing use of the microscope will lead to a higher transplant success rate.

In 2012 the MHMT donated £16,000 - the cost of a dedicated Glaucoma Unit for the scientific management of childhood glaucoma and a substantial increase in paediatric patients is now anticipated in the only reliable facility of its kind in the state of Odisha. Glaucoma is a disease where the optic nerve is progressively and irreversibly damaged by increased pressure inside the eyeball, leading to blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment is resulting in successful management.

In 2013 the MHMT raised £50,000 to support an MHCECC consultant to receive advanced training abroad for one year. The wide-ranging benefits to the MHCECC's 500-mile catchment area include improved service delivery, raised standards of in-house training and research, and enhancement of the Centre's international relevance.

LVPEI identified MHCECC retina specialist, Dr Tapas Ranjan Padhi, to take up a year's fellowship at the University of Michigan, USA with Professor John Heckenlively and Professor Cagri Besirli. Dr Tapas undertook the Fellowship in July 2014. Dr Das, Vice Chair of L V Prasad Eye Institute and specialist in diseases of the retina and vitreous membrane, says: “Dr Tapas Padhi greatly impressed his mentors in the United States and he has already contributed papers and articles as a result of the opportunity of studying with some of the most eminent people in his field, globally. There is no doubt the experience in his Fellowship year adds significantly to his status as a practitioner, a teacher and a researcher.” Read more here.

The programme in Odisha has now expanded to 17 neonatal intensive care units in and around the city of Bhubaneswar. The establishment of special neonatal care units in Odisha means that there is a sound base for the MHCECC to expand the ROP programme to five districts in Odisha, providing curative laser treatment. This is a significant step towards eliminating avoidable blindness. Dr Tapas says, "We have not come across a single baby that has become blind because of ROP in Bhubaneswar in the last three years. We are in the process of achieving the same in the peripheral districts of Odisha and some day will achieve our mission of ZERO ROP BLIND from Odisha." Read more here.

In 2015 the MHMT transferred £20,000 for a cryostat - a machine that cuts waiting time for tissue sample results from five days to fifteen minutes, so that only one surgical procedure is necessary, with many benefits. Read more here.

The MHCECC's Outreach Programme
Eye screening in schools, slums and remote, under-resourced areas is a priority. The Outreach Programme is responsible for average 1,000 school and slum children's general screening and retina scanning of 400 premature babies per year, all without charge. Children are screened for refractive error (long- or short-sightedness), correctable squint and other conditions.

The total transferred to the MHCECC within the L V Prasad Eye Institute, Bhubaneswar, since 2008 is over £400,000.

Dr Taraprasad Das, Director of the L V Prasad Eye Institute, Bhubaneswar, says: "Every time a child is treated at the Miriam Hyman Children's Eye Care Centre her memory is invoked and her spirit lives on through those children whose sight is restored in her name."

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The MHCECC waiting room
The MHCECC waiting room

The RetCam Shuttle
The RetCam Shuttle

The Mobile Unit
The multi-purpose mobile unit

The Anaesthesia Station
The OR anaesthesia station

The Specular Microscope
The specular microscope

Slum Sight Screening
Sight screening in the slums