Ministry of Health to Implement Latest Stage of Barbuda’s Eye Screening Programme

The Ministry of Health and the Environment, in collaboration with Caribbean Council for the Blind (CCB) Eye Care Caribbean, will soon embark upon the latest stage of its Barbuda Eye Screening Programme.

Ministry officials and a CCB Eye Care Caribbean technician will travel to Codrington next week to distribute glasses to 165 Barbudans.

The distribution of the glasses is a direct result of the successful eye-screening process which took place in Barbuda in early October 2016. It also reflects the commitment of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to providing the highest quality eye care to the people of Barbuda.

The October eye-screening initiative was the first of its kind ever to be conducted in Barbuda.

A total of 317 individuals were screened during a four-day period at the Hanna Thomas Hospital. The objective was to identify common eye diseases, namely glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataract affecting Barbudans.

As a consequence of the screening, it was determined that 174 individuals had serious refractive errors that necessitated the need for glasses.

Standing by its policy objective that Barbuda must not be left behind, the Antigua and Barbuda Government decided to fund the cost of the 174 glasses and distribute them to those in need.

In early January, a team of Ministry of Health officials and a CCB Eye Care Caribbean Optometrist paid a second visit to Barbuda.  The 174 individuals were contacted and tested for their glasses.

One hundred and sixty-five glasses will be distributed next week. An additional nine individuals who had high blood sugar levels at the time of a prior clinical evaluation will be re-examined at the end of March and their eye glasses will be fabricated based on the follow-up assessment.

Other cases for which there was no immediate need for eye glasses were referred to Mount St. John’s Medical Center and the individuals were subsequently treated at the MSJMC Outpatient Clinic. Some were diagnosed with early cataract and elevated eye pressure and will have follow-up appointments in March. Others who were identified for either cataract or pterygium surgery were contacted in November and are currently being monitored.

Next week’s visit by Ministry of Health officials and the CCB Eye Care Caribbean technician to distribute the 165 eye classes,  represents the most recent stage in this first ever Barbuda Eye Screening Programme.

The Ministry’s partner in this initiative, CCB Eye Care Caribbean, is a Caribbean vision care organization whose mission is to make care affordable to all and who offers eye classes at reduced rates. CCB Eye Care Caribbean currently offers eye-care services at the Clare Hall, Johnson’s Point and Grays Farm Clinics.



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