At nine years old, Nehru’s head barely reaches over the counter at the hospital admitting desk. His eyes, clouded over with the dull blueness of cataracts, reveal the complexity of competing thoughts…anxiety over the coming surgery, but hope for the future.
We photographed a lot of children and adults that day at the LV Prasad Eye Institute in India but I could not get Nehru off my mind. I even put his photo as my iPhone home screen. A few weeks after I returned home, Nehru’s doctor, Dr. Preeti Chhablani, gave this update:
“The little boy in the picture is Nehru. He has been our patient since he was 2 years old. He’s now nine. He suffers from a genetic retinal disorder called ‘ Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis’. This results in extremely poor vision, since early childhood. Unfortunately, there’s no proven treatment for this condition yet. Nehru has always had very poor vision and can barely appreciate and perceive light. However, he also developed cataracts in both eyes, which further compromised his vision and also made his eyes look ‘different’ from those of other children. He underwent cataract surgery in both eyes and is now able to perceive light again. Unfortunately, we cannot restore his eyesight to normal.”
Call to Action: The story does not yet have a great ending for Nehru. More research is needed. Please consider supporting the doctors and researchers at LV Prasad Eye Institute in India as they work to help their patients from all socio-economic backgrounds.
All photos and text ©Copyright Gary S. Chapman 2015
(Nikon D750, 24-70mm f2.8 @70mm, 1/80 sec, f2.8, ISO 4000)