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Orbis celebrates contribution of women leaders in bridging the gap
between communities and care.

Foundation for the Future

Dr. Shreya Shah (Pediatric Ophthalmologist and Oculoplasty Surgeon) Director, Drashti Netralaya, Dahod, Gujarat

Astounded to see a tremendous backlog of approximately 3.9 million cataract cases for adults and children, Dr. Shah decided to pursue a career in pediatric ophthalmology to enable the children to witness the beauty of this world.

According to Dr. Shah, vision plays an imperative role just like any other organ in our body. There are two types of vision: (1) Physical vision (eyesight), which plays a crucial role in our daily lives, facilitating navigation, communication, and the overall perception of our environment. (2) Eternal vision, which drives our lives because it has a clear sense of purpose, a mental image of desired results, and the urge to work towards reaching them. Combining this with leadership and strategic thinking triggers imagining possibilities thereby creating a course of action. It is about having foresight that confers decision-making and motivates others to work together to achieve a common goal.

Dr. Shah chose pediatric ophthalmology as a specialty to make a difference in the lives of children. After identifying a scarcity of pediatric ophthalmic care in the 17 regions where she and her team were working, she felt compelled to intervene. The immense need for and chance to positively impact the lives of children prompted her to specialize in pediatric ophthalmology, which provided her with the strength to offer much-needed care at these underserved locations.


“My vision is to create a happy society by restoring the physical vision of children. By enabling individuals to regain their sight, we, not only are improving their quality of life but also contributing to the overall well-being and happiness of the community. When individuals regain their vision, they are more likely to participate in educational opportunities, seek employment, and contribute positively to their communities. This, in turn, fosters a happier and more vibrant society,” she said.


“Vision plays a vital role in a child's overall growth, as it is intertwined with other senses and abilities such as hearing, motor skills, communication, and cognitive development. Without proper vision, a child's ability to learn, interact, and explore the world becomes compromised,” she said.

Directing investment and resources to pediatric eye health is critical for a variety of reasons. Early intervention is critical in averting many years of visual impairment among children. Certain therapies and interventions must be delivered as early as possible during the plasticity stage of a child's visual development to prevent eye conditions such as amblyopia/lazy eye. This can considerably reduce the burden of visual impairment and blindness that children may bear throughout their lives.


Dr. Shah’s tribal territory has a high rate of untreated squints, ptosis, amplyopia and more over of traumatic cataracts among children. Therefore, Dr Mehul, her husband doing lots of research, has built and published an essential predictive model for ocular trauma for children and toddlers. The visual outcome is determined by co-morbidities and the time gap between the trauma incident and presentation, as that time interval is critical in defining morphology. Traumatic cataracts account for 50% of all cataracts in children.


She further stated that Orbis International has played an important role in shaping her career as a pediatric ophthalmologist and in realizing her childhood ambitions of pursuing pediatrics, ophthalmology, or plastic surgery. Orbis' HBP (Hospital-Based Program) presented Dr. Shah with a tremendous opportunity to learn from world-renowned specialists in the field. “Orbis has been very beneficial

in extending not just the training for pediatric ophthalmologists, but also in providing vital counsel and assistance. We have gained a

great deal of information and clarity in our vision for pediatric ophthalmology thanks to the frequent sessions held by Orbis,” she said. “Orbis has instilled a strong sense of teamwork within the Drishti Netralaya family,” she further added.

Dr. Shah shared one incident that has remained etched in her memory. This highlights the impact of the work on a patient and their family. She states that in her tribal area, ocular trauma cases are alarmingly common, presenting unique challenges. One day, a young girl, around seven years old, was brought to the hospital by her parents following a traumatic injury to her eye. What struck Dr. Shah was the immediate response and their trust in their services.

Curious to understand why they sought her help, Dr. Shah inquired about their prompt action. To her surprise, the girl's mother

confidently said, "Doctor, try to recollect, you had operated on me for a traumatic cataract when I was around 7-8 years old. I know that timely treatment is crucial for eye trauma." Dr. Shah was deeply moved by this response as it revealed the fruits of awareness, the impact of their previous successful intervention, and the unwavering trust the family placed in her expertise.


This incident spoke volumes about the ripple effect of her work. The earlier intervention she had provided for the girl's mother had not only improved her vision but had also left a lasting impression on the family. Witnessing the positive outcome first-hand, the family understood the critical importance of seeking immediate medical attention for ocular trauma, even for their young daughter.


Such anecdotes reaffirm the significance of the efforts and the transformative power of providing timely and effective eye care. “Our goal is to strive for equitable eye care. To achieve this goal, we recognize the importance of creating awareness and fostering effective communication with various healthcare professionals, including pediatricians and gynecologists. By delivering a clear message to parents about the significance of early intervention and eye care, we aim to contribute to a world where every child has the opportunity to see

and thrive,” says Dr. Shreya Shah. She further thanked her husband Dr. Mehul Shah, family, mentors, and peers for their unwavering support and guidance.

Dr. Shreya Shah


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