National Ophthalmology Hospital undergoing repairs – part of efforts to improve eye care services

The National Ophthalmology Hospital in Port Mourant, East Berbice Corentyne (Region Six) is undergoing renovation, as the Government aims to provide quality services for visually impaired persons.

With the assistance of the Government of Cuba, the ophthalmology hospital was established in 2009 to offer specialised eye care, including surgeries for cataract and other ailments.  The hospital served locals, as well as persons from the Caribbean and Latin America seeking affordable and quality eye care surgeries.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, MP

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony said the institution has however, been neglected over the last several years.  

“We started a process of trying to resuscitate the hospital … we have invested substantial sums of money to be able to restore the equipment that we have there, and we’re working actively to bring that back so that we can have a full-fledged national ophthalmology hospital back again. So work is ongoing,” the Health Minister disclosed on Thursday.

The restoration of the hospital comes as ‘World Sight Day’ is being observed under the theme “Love your eyes”.

The minister urged citizens to reflect on what they can do to prevent eye diseases. “I think we know that there’s a lot more work to be done, but thankfully we have persons who are working actively to reduce the burden of these types of diseases,” Minister Anthony said.

Focused on reducing eye diseases by 2030, the ministry is committed to dipping refractive errors by 30 per cent and cataracts by 40 per cent.

Additionally, the ministry has rolled out a programme which will enable persons to get retina examinations. The initiative has commenced at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

Minister Anthony stated that persons with diabetes are at a greater risk of contracting an eye related ailment.

“When you have diabetes, one of the organs that are affected is your eye, so you can get what is called diabetic retinopathy. We’ve started a programme where we have the rolling out to different areas, to be able to examine the retina of the eye, so, persons who are affected by diabetes can come and get the right checks… This can help with the management of the patient and prevent blindness.”

Meanwhile, the ministry will be hosting an open house discussion on eye care at GPHC for the public. The initiative will also be hosted by other institutions such as the University of Guyana.

The World Health Organisation has estimated over 2.2 billion people globally are affected by various forms of visual impairment, primarily refractive errors and cataracts.