Retina Unit saves Tanjila from a cursed life

Tanjila Akhter, a less fortunate village girl living in Bangladesh’s east-central district of Chandpur, endured years of vision problem but could not have the access to eye care services due to her financial hardship and the unavailability of specialized eye health facilities in her area. She has had her sight restored with intervention of the Retina Unit at Mazharul Haque BNSB Eye Hospital, Chandpur supported by ANDHERI HILFE eV, Bonn, Germany.


Tanjila Akhter, a 16 Years old girl hailing from a remote village in Faridganj Upazilla under Chandpur district, had long been in financial hardship of her family but she had the physical and mental strengths to battle it. The teenage girls, however, lost the strength after she started suffering from a vision problem early two years ago that eventually lost her vision. “I started experiencing a problem with my eyes two years ago. I later ceased to see with the progression of the problem and could no more do any work- household chores or other things,” she said.

An otherwise healthy 16 years old girl from Faridganj, Chandpur visited Mazharul Haque BNSB Eye Hospital on 01st December 2022 with the complain of sudden onset of reduced vision and floaters in her right eye. Before this she was not taking any medications earlier for this problem because of limited eye care services in Chandpur and its associated areas. Recently she visited hospital OPD and happy to know that, a Retina Unit was setup at the hospital with financial support from ANDHERI HILFE, eV, Bonn, Germany to offer quality eye care at affordable cost.

Dr. Md. Saiful Islam, Retina Specialist of the hospital, who received training with the grants from ANDHERI HILFE examined her in the retina unit. On examination it is found that, her reduced vision is 6/24 in right eye and 6/6 in left eye. In the right eye there were vitreous cells, cotton wool spots and sheathing of retinal vessels. The intraocular pressure was 15mmHg in both eyes. the anterior segment was normal with clear cornea and lens ad a deep, quiet anterior chamber. The iris was round and dilated well with no transillumination defects or posterior synechiae. Fundus examination revealed multiple cotton wool spots surrounding the optic nerve. The left eye was normal.

Some investigations (Blood sugar, Lipid profile, Chest X-ray and Tuberculosis) advised and accordingly as per diagnosis report, she was diagnosed with Tuberculosis which affecting her right eye in several ways. as per doctor’s prescription, one months after commencing treatment, the vision improved to 6/9 in right eye. There is regression of the retinal neovascularization and reduction in the retinal and pre-retinal hemorrhages.

Tanjila informed her mother about the fears of her eyes and accordingly they visited Mazharul Haque BNSB Eye Hospital after 6 months for examine her eyes. In no time, she went to the hospital with her mother and fortunately she hears the great news that is retina unit is functional at the hospital. “After I went to the retina unit, as per doctors’ advice a female staff there did necessary checkups with care and counseled about my diseases and problems. I felt comfortable to share my problems and I also understand about my treatment procedures” she said.

Tanjila said the she is advised for anti VEGF injection, which cost is around BDT. 5000, she shows negative interest due to cost involvement and she request for subsidy for her treatment. As per her request, management pleased to offer full free services to her and also allocated for free Avastin injection instantly in her right eye. After that, she had visited Mazharul Haque BNSB Eye Hospital for her routine follow-up and doctor found her improvement.

Tanjila was suffering from Retinal Vasculitis in her right eye but could not have the access to specialized retina care services in the area she lives in. “I did not know where to go for the treatment of the vision problem. What we knew is these retina services were offered in eye hospitals at Chattogram and Dhaka only. But they are very far from here and traveling to the hospitals requires a big amount of money. Now this Retina unit will play vital role in the treatment and management of all types of retinal diseases” she said.

She could not wait to see what was going to happen to her eye after the treatment. “After the removal of the bandage during anti VEGF injection, I could see something clearer than my previous condition. I was surprised to see the result of the treatment. The fear that once engulfed me that I might not see the beauty of this earth again vanished in moments,” said the emotion-choked Tanjila Akhter with tears rolling down her cheeks.

ANDHERI HILFE setup this Retina Unit in partnership with Mazharul Haque BNSB Eye Hospital in Chandpur, a specialized health facility for treating eye diseases. Tanjila said the proximity of the Retina Unit at Chandpur has enabled her to gain access to eye care services. “Had the retina unit not been established in this area, I could not have the scope of treatment and most probably I would have lived the rest of my life with blindness and as a burden to others. The Retina Unit has saved me from such a cursed life.”

Mazharul Haque BNSB Eye Hospital pleased to thanks ANDHERI HILFE for their kind support to setup Retina Unit in this rural area of Bangladesh.

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December 2022
Retina Unit | Injection
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