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Love at First Sight

Friday, 06 July 2018

The charity behind Scotland’s largest children’s hospital has kicked off a special appeal that could help save the sight of the country’s most vulnerable babies.

Love at First Sight aims to raise £150,000 to purchase potentially sight-saving pieces of kit for the neonatal units at the Royal Hospital for Children, Princess Royal Maternity and Royal Alexandra Hospitals.

The state-of-the-art imaging equipment will enable teams across the three hospitals to screen for and detect retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) – abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina – in babies.

In the most serious cases this condition can cause retinal detachment which can lead to complete loss of sight. If detected in time, there is an excellent chance that a baby’s sight can be saved with interventions, which must be performed within 24-48 hours of diagnosis.

Pedro Gonzalez, Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Royal Hospital for Children said: “A picture is worth a thousand words, and we need to be able to take photos of tiny babies’ eyes to see if there are any problems. At the moment, we work on diagnosis based on written reports following a visit by an ophthalmologist, but we can more accurately diagnose the condition from a photo.”

Eoghan Millar, Consultant Ophthalmologist also at the Royal Hospital for Children said: “Retinopathy of prematurity is a potentially devastating condition. This equipment will allow us to better serve the most vulnerable in our society. By accurately documenting their condition, illustrating their condition to their parents and educating the wider healthcare community, we will be able to make better treatment choices and save more sight whilst extending care further. We would hope in the future no child would be blinded by this condition and this equipment will take us a step further in that journey.” 

Shona Cardle, chief executive of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Retinal detachment is a truly devastating condition that can have lifelong implications for children and their families if not caught and operated on within that critical 24-hour time frame.

“The hospital’s consultant ophthalmologists do a fantastic job, but their remit takes in thousands of children. Having dedicated imaging equipment will mean that staff can take photos of the eyes of every baby in the neonatal unit, share digitally with consultants and enable faster, more accurate detection. This equipment is sight-saving, and we would welcome any donations that help us reach our target of £150,000 to make a crucial difference to the most vulnerable young patients and their families.

“People can donate by text, going to our website or calling us directly. We would also like to invite every family who has experienced the extraordinary care of our neonatal units to join us at our Sponsored Walk on Saturday 1st September to support the appeal.”

The equipment costs around £70,000 per unit, and Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity hopes to raise the funds required by October.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the Love at First Sight appeal can text CARE to 70660 to give £5, visit www.glasgowchildrenshospitalcharity.org or call 0141 212 8750.

Donors can also sign up for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity’s Sponsored Walk on Saturday 1 September.