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215 453 prematurely born babies treated
The programme has been launched in 2001. Initially, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation purchased 7 diode lasers for treatment centres in hospitals in Katowice, Łódź, Białystok, Poznań, Szczecin, Gdańsk, and Wrocław.
By the end of 2017, the Foundation equipped all neonatal intensive care units in Poland with 122 ophthalmoscopes (used to see inside the fundus of the eye) and 24 laser devices. Currently, there are 19 treatment centres, which have been equipped by the Foundation and by the end of 2017 doctors have examined and diagnosed 215 453 prematurely born babies and have performed 9 028 laser operations and saved the eyesight of 8 680 babies!
This type of retinopathy is caused by premature birth and it basically means that the retina (part of the eye) is not developed properly yet when the child is born. The damaged retina can eventually cause substantial loss of eyesight and when left untreated in the early stages, can result in loss of eyesight. First symptoms can be diagnosed between 1 and 3 months of baby's life, so doctors need to have access to sophisticated equipment such as laser surgery devices. The best chance to save the child's eyesight is a quick diagnosis and effective treatment undertakes as early as possible.