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M. B. Strominger, N. Nandakumar; Ocular Abnormalities From the Chernobyl Children’s Project USA. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):4850.
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The Chernobyl Children’s Project USA is based in the greater Boston area and was founded in 1995 as an effort to help provide medical and social support for the children of Chernobyl. Each summer volunteer families welcome children from Chernobyl into their homes, participate in social outings, and take them for their various medical appointments. We report the ocular findings of seventeen children who were evaluated over the past three years.
All the children underwent a complete ophthalmologic examination including testing of visual acuity, refraction, motility, stereopsis, color vision, slit lamp, cycloplegic retinopathy and ophthalmoscopy.
The most common presenting findings were congenital anomalies (11 patients), followed by trauma (4 patients), systemic disease (1 patient), and progressive myopia (1 patient). Of the patients with congenital anomalies, four involved the optic nerve, three the anterior segment, two had glaucoma, one had retinoblastoma, and one had a retinal scar due to congenital toxoplasmosis.
Although some of the ocular abnormalities could not be prevented irrespective of timely intervention, many of the children suffered from problems where morbidity could be mitigated or reduced with timely intervention. From our case series, one major conclusion that emerges is that a disaster such as the Chernobyl incident disrupts the social fabric, affects access to medical care, and in turn leads to an increase in preventable ocular morbidities in children.
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