Treating children with squint eyes in Mauritius

The surgery has transformed her personality and boosted her confidence. She is enthusiastic to face the world these days,” said the mother of an 18-year-old girl who underwent a corrective surgery for squint eye disorder. Another boy, sitting on a hospital bed with a plaster on his left eye, was excited to say: “I have lived through 16 years with ­people making fun of my squint. I feel so wonderful after this surgery. I can now focus on getting on with my life.”

Mauritius health minister Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal with RC Pondicherry Agaram IPP K Sowrirajan and RC Bagatelle IPP Amaresh Ramlagun (R) ­visiting a child at the hospital ward.
Mauritius health minister Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal with RC Pondicherry Agaram IPP K Sowrirajan and RC Bagatelle IPP Amaresh Ramlagun (R) ­visiting a child at the hospital ward.

Rotary Club of Pondicherry ­Agaram, RID 2981, initiated a squint eye surgery project in Mauritius, Africa, following a request from RC Bagatelle there. Five ophthalmologists from India — Milind Killedar from Mumbai, Madhuri, Harsha, Priyanka and Vanaja Vaithiyanadan of RC ­Pondicherry Eves — screened around 175 children, all under 18, for squint and other eye disorders, at the ­Subramania ­Bharathi Government Eye Hospital in Port Louis, ­Mauritius. ­Sixty-five ­children with squint eye, shortlisted for corrective surgery, were operated upon over a week in April.

Minister for health and wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal who inaugurated the event lauded this initiative which “has helped clear a 16-month backlog in our region. The project is a golden opportunity for children suffering from strabismus to receive necessary treatment free of cost.”

The team of Indian ophthalmologists with club presidents Ramlagun and ­Sowrirajan on the inaugural day of the camp.
The team of Indian ophthalmologists with club presidents Ramlagun and ­Sowrirajan on the inaugural day of the camp.

Squint eye disorder is a ­common phenomenon here. “Surgery is done if other ­non-invasive options are not ­successful,” said K Sowrirajan, IPP RC Pondicherry Agaram. “This is probably the first international service project of our district. We signed an MoU with the Mauritius health ministry and RC Bagatelle to continue extending support to treat eye disorders in the island country.” The Indian doctors gave specialised training to their ­Mauritian counterparts to address the syndrome better.

Squint eye disorder or strabismus is a condition where the eyeballs are misaligned. “It creates a poor psychological impact particularly in school-going children as they are often ridiculed by friends and in ­public places. Left untreated, eyesight will eventually deteriorate,” said Amaresh Ramlagun, IPP RC Bagatelle.

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