Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr. H.M. Shillingford-Ricketts says Dominica has recorded successes in eye care, however there are still some challenges.
Shillingford Ricketts made the remarks while addressing the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Dominica Association of Persons with Disabilities (DAPD) earlier this week.
“We still have needs,” the Consultant Ophthalmologist said.
She noted that there has been successes in the Vision 2020 Program, which was launched by the Caribbean region in 2000 following a global program one year earlier to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020.
“Successes in our vision 2020 program have been realized,” she noted. “Eye care is integrated in the primary health sector. The recent upgrade in our equipment by the donation of a $1-million worth of eye equipment by the People’s Republic of China. We have exceeded the cataract surgical rate of 2,000 per million population. We were the first in the region to pilot and establish a diabetic fundus photography screening program which allows for early identification and treatment to reduce blindness from diabetic retinopathy.”
Other successes reported by by Dr. Shillingford-Ricketts include opportunistic screening for glaucoma of everyone examined at the eye care clinic, the availability of glaucoma eye-drops a reduced price at the hospital, over 95 percent immunization coverage, optimum maternal and child care, screening for retinopathy of prematurity and school health program for five and 11 year old which includes vision screening.
Some of these measures are in place to reduce childhood blindness among others, she said.