Assoc. Dr. Violeta Chernodrinska: Only at "Alexandrovska" do we treat the eye problems of premature babies with a laser

Assoc. Dr. Violeta Chernodrinska: Only at "Alexandrovska" do we treat the eye problems of premature babies with a laser
Assoc. Dr. Violeta Chernodrinska: Only at "Alexandrovska" do we treat the eye problems of premature babies with a laser

"Thanks to the wonderful initiative, "Bulgarian Christmas", equipment was donated to the country's only children's eye department, which helps in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases in children at a young age of up to 4 years." What are the problems with children's eyes? Prof. Chernodrinska has been working as an ophthalmologist for 17 years, continuing the family tradition – her mother is also an eye doctor.

What do you see in the eyes of our children, Prof. Chernodrinska?

- Many things I see, but mostly curiosity. And that's why we fight for children to see, to have good vision, because in 90% we perceive the world with our eyes. It is very important for a child to see well so that he can develop emotionally and physically in order to have a future.

Just talked to a worried dad, his child is suffering from glaucoma…

- Yes, children also suffer from glaucoma - in them the disease is congenital. In this case, this child also has other eye problems - he has had operations and the problems come from there. But there are many children with glaucoma in our clinic. The important thing is to diagnose the suffering in time and start the treatment. To prevent blindness…

Why are there so many sick children with eye problems in our country?

- The big problem in Bulgaria is the lack of mandatory preventive eye examinations for children. They generally don't complain about not seeing because they don't understand it. Sometimes a child, for example, just needs glasses, but he can't tell his mother that he can't see out of one eye! It wasn't until he was 7-8 years old that it was discovered for some reason that the child could not see. At that time, it must have already developed the so-called lazy eye.

That is why preventive examinations are very important. I hope that some day the specified periods for eye examinations will become mandatory. But even if the parents do not notice any signs in their child, it is good to take them to an eye specialist between 4 months and one year of age.

Do we have enough children's ophthalmologists?

- No, there isn't. Unfortunately, children's eye doctors in the country can be counted on the fingers. 10-15 are for the whole of Bulgaria, with 7 of them working in the "Children's Eye Department" of Alexandrovska Hospital. There is one specialist in Varna, Stara Zagora, and Plovdiv, that is…

You've had a waiting list for a long time?

- Yes, we have been working on this scheme for a long time. Every day in the office we examine 30-40 children. I also lasered a premature baby today. Premature babies are becoming more and more. Fellow neonatologists rescue them, but they usually have eye problems. Imagine what a tragedy it would be if a laboriously conceived in vitro child, awaited, desired, born 700-800 years ago, colleagues save him, and he turns out to be blind!

I understand from your words that you take care of the eye he alth of premature babies too…

- We screen the premature babies - we go to the neonatology wards, examine their eyes and if there is a problem, we treat it. In our eye department, we are the only ones in Bulgaria who treat the problems of premature babies with a laser. Today's premature baby had a severe form of retinopathy, if it is not treated, the child will go blind. We did laser therapy on him in the operating room, I hope we managed to save his sight.

Is this the latest hardware you have?

- "Bulgarian Christmas" gave us exactly this laser for premature babies. As well as a diagnostic device, but it is only used in premature babies. So we now easily diagnose retinopathy, and with the laser we treat it. From the last campaign, we were also given an anesthesia machine, which greatly facilitates the work of anesthesiologists. We used to work with one from the 60s…

Is there anything you need for the ward?

-Currently we are working towards a software program that would unite all examinations of all premature babies in Bulgaria. In this way, we will have some statistics and an idea of how many children need retinopathy treatment, where they are in the country. This system is not expensive, it costs about 30,000 euros.

Tablets, phones, computers, TV screens…

- They are not preferred! Especially in young children, since our vision, in evolutionary terms, is developed to look at a single illumination in one way. And imagine, in early childhood, at the age of 3, when children stare for hours at these achievements of technology, vision is constantly strained to adapt to new conditions. We have started to see an increase in patients who have spasm of accommodation. I.e. from staring for a long time, and at a distance of 20-30 cm, the eye spasms. This leads to headaches, reduced vision and other serious problems over time. Therefore, my recommendation to parents is to allow children to play with tablets for no more than half an hour a day. Or at least every 2-3 hours - to have a rest period. And to regularly take their children to a children's eye specialist, because darkness destroys not only childhood, but also all human life.

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