Although the problem of reducing avoidable blindness is significant, only a small percentage of the people needing basic treatment for vision problems or even surgery actually have access to it. This issue is not only true for Trinidad but even among our Caribbean neighbours, there are countries with limited access to complex eye surgeries and this must be outsourced. Therefore we have a responsibility to undertake outreach events throughout the year to reach those who have limited access to these basic services in the more remote areas of our country and even extend our services where we can regionally.
The number one cause of blindness is due to refractive error. This is further compounded by limited access to basic eyecare services. Trinidad Eye Hospital is committed to doing our part to prevent avoidable blindness due to refractive error. We offer free basic vision screening at Health Fairs and other special community outreach events across the country. These sessions are done with the aim of reducing this problem by conducting at least one vision screening event per month.
Our Optometrist, Mr. Ibraheem Mohammed, and his team, screen for common eye problems, focusing on the need for glasses and cataract removal as well as other underlying conditions eg. Diabetic Retinopathy and Glaucoma . Patient consultations are provided on site at companies, community health events and schools. Patients vision acuity is tested and advice on minor eye ailments is provided with treatment recommended on site. Free medication and/or eyeglasses are distributed when possible.
Some patients who are identified with cataracts are referred for surgery at subsidized costs or recommended for the free surgery based on their financial constraints. We hope to grow this programme with increased support from donors.
rural community outreach
Community Outreach at Trinidad Eye Hospital is focused on providing eyecare within rural communities where many may have limited or no access to and/or awareness of such services. The goal is to take steps to eliminate needless blindness since many may have never visited an eye doctor or any doctor in their entire lives.
We have taken the responsibility to do community outreach at least twice a year since we've noticed that not all persons in these more rural villages have the means to travel to the public hospitals located in the urban areas.
Community outreach is still developing as there is a need to involve more businesses in our local communities, more volunteers and more independent sponsors to increase the level of funding available for these outreach projects.