Doctors & Staff from Sankara Eye Hospital blindfold themselves with blind footballers from Equibeing Foundation for eye cancer awareness

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An afternoon of 5 a side football with blind & blindfolded people conducted with support from ‘Surya For Life’ on World Cancer Day

Bangalore, February 04, 2023: In a unique afternoon of football, 4 teams with blind and some blindfolded engaged in the game at Sankara Eye Hospital Bangalore on the eve of World Cancer Day, to showcase how sports & play can help those with vision impairment and their care givers gain confidence & resilience to return to their routine. The event had Muhammed Afsal researcher & member State blind football team in Kerala and Anantalakshmi, Founder, Equibeing participate with Dr Mahesh P Shanmugam, Head Vitreoretina & Ocular Oncology, Sankara Eye Foundation India.

An interactive workshop for children who are cancer survivors of the eye was also conducted along with their care givers to empower them with knowledge, skills and confidence so that their children can achieve to 100% of their potential.

Dr. Mahesh Shanmugam, Head Vitreoretina & Ocular Oncology Sankara Eye Hospital, Bangalore, said: “A number of eye cancers if identified early and treated can not only save lives, but help ensure useful vision is retained. At Sankara Eye Hospital, our centre for excellence in ocular oncology has worked on innovation in diagnosis & treatment, and we believe that every child can live to its potential if provided the appropriate environment. We are glad to work with Equibeing Foundation, using football as an awareness tool for eye care.”

“Sankara Eye Hospitals has been an organisation that I as a social entrepreneur have been happy to support. Children with vision impairment need support. Over the years, through Surya For Life, we are grateful to our patrons for supporting the terracotta jewellery we make, from whose proceeds we are able to support these awareness activities,” shared Poornima Sankar, Founder Surya for Life.

‘Retinoblastoma primarily found in children can be life threatening if not diagnosed on time. These children also need to be provided emotional support and the skills to live their life to their potential and the first step starts at the eye hospital. With the blindfold football match, we want to encourage Ophthalmologists and Optometrists to become ambassadors in creating awareness on this eye cancer and also enable the blind to live their lives to the full,” said Dr Ananthalakshmi, Founder, Equibeing,

In a recent incidence of retinoblastoma at Sankara Eye Hospital, Bangalore, early detection and timely treatment saved the life of nine-month-old baby Janav (name changed), who comes with a family history of this cancer. The baby’s father, Kumar, (name changed) had lost one eye to this disease in his childhood. The baby’s older brother Pranav (name changed) too had lost one eye to the tumour. With support from the psychologists and the vision rehabilitation team, parents today are looking forward to enrolling her in a play school in the next academic year.

With improved technology, Retinoblastoma survival rate has improved but low awareness is still a cause of concern. Hence early detection and treatment is vital in saving the life of children in particular. A “white eye”, or “cat’s eye reflex is often the most common red flag, however any sudden swelling, squinting of the eye etc should not be neglected and must seek medical attention immediately.

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