diagnosis of inflammation prevents blindness
|A doctor performs free
eye exams for children at the Central Ophthalmology Hospital in Ha Noi.
— VNA/VNS Photo Huu Oai
HA NOI — Each year, the
National Eye Hospital treats between 80 and 100 children suffering from
endophthalmitis, as does Sai Gon Eye Hospital. However, the actual number of
sufferers was much greater, former hospital director Ton Thi Kim Thanh stated.
Endophthalmitis is an
inflammation of the intraocular cavity. Professor Thanh said the inflammation
was triggered by bacterial infection caused by an injury to the eye. Children
suffering from the disease are likely to lose their vision and, in some cases,
the eye must be surgically removed.
several symptoms such as decreased visual acuity, redness, pain and ocular
discharge. Endophthalmitis may follow an eye injury anywhere from hours to days
after the event, depending on the agent of infection.
The disease occurs
seasonally and more commonly in rural areas, with children under five proving
particularly susceptible. Early diagnosis is key to prevent inflammation leading
According to the study by
the Tropical Disease Hospital’s deputy director, Dr Tran Tinh Hien, infection
from Streptococcus suis (found in pigs) is one of the main causes of the
disease. The number of infected people has risen in the last decade, owing to
the close contact between humans and infected pigs. These people also frequently
suffer from meningitis, septicaemia and pneumonia.
Thanh stated that children
exhibiting ocular redness or swelling should be taken to the hospital for
treatment. Once there, children can be injected with antibiotics or have their
eyes drained of fluid.
Retinal detachment is an
eye disease most often encountered in premature infants and is the most
prevalent eye disease of that age group. Caused by injuries to small ocular
blood vessels, the disease can lead to permanent loss of vision.
Retinal detachment usually
results in short-sightedness, the degree of which varies depending on the level
of infection. Around 80 per cent of treated children suffered lasting
complications such as squinting and short-sightedness, said Thanh.
Children with retinal
scars caused by laser treatment should be tracked periodically due to their
increased likeliness of suffering retinal detachment. There are few preventative
measures for the disease aside from wearing safety goggles to prevent eye
There are currently only
two hospitals in Viet Nam, Children’s Hospital No 1 and the Central Children’s
Hospital, able to treat retina detachment in premature infants. — VNS