Baby corneal retinopathy treated in Columbia

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- During his most recent check up, young Ke'monte is alert and looking around. His doctor says he is making amazing progress.

"It's certainly much, much better than it has been so that's great," says Dr. Kristiana Neff with USC Specialty Clinics.

At eight months old, Ke'monte loves to be held by his mom Sandrika Denis. These days the Rembert mom is breathing a sigh of relief.

Denis says, "I feel better, they say he is doing better and he's seeing."

Ke'monte and his twin brother Ke'aundre were born two months premature. A routine newborn exam showed Ke'monte has a rare condition called baby corneal retinopathy in both eyes.

Dr. Neff says, "he was noticed to have congenital cloudy corneas. The front cover of the eye has to be clear to see. It's fairly rare to have this problem in children much less newborn infants so these cases don't come along often."

Ke'monte needed transplant surgery.

When we do these transplants in children we worry about rejection because when they're young their immune system is very active," says Neff.

Dr. Neff says about half of the transplants are rejected in the first year. That makes Denis's job even more important. She has to pay close attention to Ke'monte's actions and stick to a strict eye drop schedule.

Denis says, "I have the eye drops down now- so it TMs not a lot. I thought it would be hard but it wasn't."

Ke'monte is also hooked up to a breathing monitor. Dr. Neff says symptoms of Retinopathy Prematurity include rubbing the eyes a lot, a cloudy or blue appearance and, in serious cases the eye can be under developed.

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