‘Snap on’ spectacle programme to be launched soon

More than 4,000 hinterland residents will benefit from free spectacles from the Government of Guyana through a programme to be launched shortly.

This was revealed by Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony, who said the “snap on” spectacles programme will be launched within a month.

01-Eye examination being conducted on a patient

“This is a special programme that we have…because we will be able to offer spectacles to people in remote communities. We will be able to screen them to see whether they have an eye problem and if they do have an eye problem, to be able to rectify it…almost instantly by giving them the spectacles,” Dr Anthony said.

Speaking just a day after the observance of World Sight Day, which was observed on October 13, the health minister said that the government since taking office has made significant strides in providing eyecare services to Guyanese.

General Ophthalmology

Meanwhile, he noted that a lot of work had to be done at the Port Maurant Ophthalmology Hospital.

“We have been able to rehabilitate the hospital. It was in a very bad state when we came back to the government. The microscopes, the theatres, and the services that were being offered were very minimal…and all the microscopes and theatre was not really working,” he said

Apart from upgrading the physical infrastructure, the minister noted that there is an ongoing programme where ophthalmologists are sent to outlying regions to screen persons who need cataract surgeries.

These patients are then transported to the hospital at Port Maurant where they are evaluated and operated on before being sent home.

Diabetic patients who need retinopathy are also assisted, and these services have been expanded and will continue to expand.

Corneal transplants

In addition, persons who require corneal transplants can do this locally.

“Over the last couple of years, we have been able to do more than a hundred corneal transplants on patients. This is something that we want to continue and this is something that we have right now in the works…the development of an eye bank where we will be able to produce our own corneas so that the persons who would need them can get them from patients that we have locally, or donors that would have donated their corneas locally,” Dr Anthony said.

The minister said these programmes will be expanded to cater to the needs of the population.