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Inaugural Speeches

Dr Siddharth Kesarwani

Dr Siddharth Kesarwani
Head of the Miriam Hyman Children's Eye Care Centre


To give an analogy, we live in a world of baby soap, baby shampoo, baby oil, so why not paediatric ophthalmology? We understand the need for special products for babies; it's not difficult to understand that their eyes are different.

Paediatric ophthalmology is a relatively new subspeciality in India. It is important to understand the need for a specialised department exclusively dedicated to the paediatric age group.

Children are playful and they're adaptive; they adapt to their abilities. This quality leads us to believe that everything is alright with the child. He is playing, fighting, watching television, playing pranks; what can possibly be wrong with his eyes? By the time a problem is discovered at school by a teacher, or by a friend, it’s often too late to do anything about it.

We have two eyes and a problem with the functioning of one eye is almost impossible to detect by the parents or teachers or anyone who is around the child. These children require screening, which is vital to pick up eye disorders in children. Intervention at the right time, with the use of glasses, occlusion and surgery can often restore a child’s vision.

Timing is crucial; there's no point swinging the bat after the ball has passed. We have come across several children whose parents took them to the ophthalmologist or to a general physician with an eye problem when they were young and they were met with a casual remark; It will sort itself out as the child grows up,” or, “The child is too small for us to operate on. Such myths need to be dispelled. A child is never too young to be examined, never too small to wear glasses, never too small to be operated upon. When a child needs intervention, they should get it.

What will we be doing at the Miriam Hyman Children's Eye Care Centre? When children come to us we play with them. We show them pictures and toys. We talk to them, and in the process we examine their eyes; the movements and the perception. We can operate on the tiniest baby if need be.

The socio-economic impact of one child going blind is enormous because they have to live their entire life with this blindness. It is the loss of these years that makes intervention absolutely essential in the paediatric age group. We at the Miriam Hyman Children's Eye Care Centre are now fully equipped to deal with any eye disorder in any paediatric age group. A three year old will be completely different to a sixteen-year-old child.

With the philanthropy of our donors and the passion of our Founders and the hard work of our entire team we hope to one day lead the field in developing facilities and human resources for screening, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for visually impaired children in this part of the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Miriam Hyman Memorial Trust and the entire Hyman family for partnering us in this good cause.

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