Vital Signs Monitor in operating theatre

Rohith’s Journey to Regaining Healthy Sight

Rohith, a young boy from a village in southwest India, grew up with perfect vision and healthy eyesight. But after an accident with a palm tree on his family’s farm and sustaining a severe eye injury, life for the schoolboy changed considerably. Discover more about his journey to getting the treatment he needed to see clearly and thrive once again.

Rohith’s story begins in January 2020, when he was seen by one of our Refractive Error Among Children (REACH) teams at his school, in Kollegal Block, Chamarajanagar District. The REACH program deploys eye screening teams across schools in the country, identifies refractive error, administers glasses, and refers students for further eye treatment if necessary. The team deemed the then-11-year-old Rohith to have perfect eyesight.

An Accident With a Palm Tree Severely Affected Rohith’s Ability to See

Two years later, Rohith’s sight suddenly took a turn for the worst on a seemingly usual day. He was helping his father, Ganesh, on their family’s farm when disaster struck. While watching his dad trim branches of a palm tree, a small, sharp wooden stick hit Rohith, deeply injuring his left eye.

Concerned, Ganesh took Rohith to a nearby public healthcare facility to be examined. His son was prescribed oral medications and eye drops to heal the wound. But when his eye condition did not improve, he was advised to go for further treatment at a hospital specializing in eye health care, where he underwent eye surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery failed.

Rohith injured his eye severely while helping his father fell palm trees

It was a tricky road to recovery for Rohith after an accident with a palm tree.

Rohith’s father recalled: “It was a very draining experience for us—both financially and emotionally. After all the efforts and taking the treatment, Rohith’s vision was not improving at all.

His poor vision began to take its toll, and Rohith needed support in managing daily tasks. Soon Rohith was reminded of the REACH screening program at his school, where he had heard about an Orbis-supported eye hospital in Bangalore city, which treated referral cases from the program.

45 Days and One Successful Surgery Later

The turning point came when Rohith made his father aware of our partner hospital and took him there for a second opinion on his debilitating eye injury. He shared: “We do not take decisions alone here. I have a strong support of family and relatives, and surprisingly, my uncle also suggested Bangalore West Lions Eye Hospital (BWLEH) for treating Rohith’s eye injury. That led us to take the 150km-long journey to get our son treated.

Dr. Nagesha C K, a retina consultant at BWLEH, gave Rohith’s parents the news that he had injured the retina in his left eye and would require vitrectomy surgery to restore his vision. Dr. Nagesha said: “We were very concerned for Rohith’s vision in his left eye, as there was a delay in treatment. Immediate surgery was proposed to restore the vision and ensure minimum damage to the eye.”

After experiencing failed treatments, Rohith and his parents were counselled on why this particular surgery was critical for restoring his vision. His father said: “The counselling helped us get over the fears around another eye surgery. He is such a young boy after all!

Finally, Rohit underwent the surgery 45 days after first sustaining his injury and was told by Dr. Nagesha that his vision should clear up in a few days. A delighted Rohith could not wait to see through his healed eye and tested his vision by reading the newspaper. Now that he has been treated, Rohith told us he was looking forward to living a normal life again, going out for a walk, playing with his friends, and watching TV like many boys and girls of his age do!

Thank You for Helping Transform Children’s Eye Care in India

While Rohith finally got the treatment he deserved to see clearly again, there are still more children just like him with catastrophic eye injuries that require the expertise of skilled and confident pediatric eye surgeons. His story is a vital reminder of how valuable quality eye care is—and of the kindness of our supporters, who made his successful surgical outcome possible.

Their generosity enables us to spearhead projects that continue to improve the quality of pediatric eye care and give more children hope for a brighter future.

How Orbis and our amazing partners are transforming children's eye health services in India

2022 marks our 40th anniversary of using innovation to fight avoidable blindness. Through initiatives like our dedicated country programs and working side-by-side with our partners in India and across the world, we have been able to strengthen eye health systems and empower eye care teams with the skills and knowledge to fight preventable blindness and visual impairment on their own.

With your continued support, we can restore the vision of more children and give them, and their families, a renewed sense of hope.

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