QEH GETS $166,000 MACHINE TO DETECT CONDITION THAT CAN LEAD TO BLINDNESS
Barbados’ main public health care facility, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is now better able to diagnose keratoconus, a progressive vision impairment of the cornea that can lead to blindness.
During the official handing over ceremony, the hospital’s Director of Medical Services, Mr. Anthony Harris explained that while traditionally the disease was categorised as rare, its prevalence depended on geographic location and anecdotal evidence suggested that it was common enough in Barbados to have a significant health impact on Barbadians.
The BBD $166,000 ophthalmology machine, equipped with the latest technology in eye examination, performs 3D investigations of the eye and in addition to keratoconus can detect other vision problems including cataract and glaucoma. CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Chief Executive Officer Colette Delaney said the bank was pleased to be a part of the initiative and would be funding the maintenance of the machine for the next three years. “We learnt this morning that this supposedly rare disease was turning out to be not so rare after all, at least not in Barbados and in the region,” Delaney said.
She added that the decision to fund the machine was a no-brainer for the bank’s community outreach arm, ComTrust. “Not so much because of the impact on our own staff members, but because everybody on the Committee recognises importance of good eyesight to the quality of one’s life and we relish the opportunity to make a real difference to people, who in many cases, are really young and whose lives are just beginning to blossom and would be negatively impacted by the disease.”
President of Keratoconus Barbados, Roseanne Myers was similarly pleased. She said: “We are very fortunate that, in the Year 2020, we have a situation where the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has the Pentacam where we can set about our objective to ensure that Barbadians who cannot afford it, are able to come to the hospital, get a diagnosis and we hope, very shortly, to be able to get the condition treated. The second piece of equipment that we want to provide is a Corneal Cross-linking machine, which means that a child diagnosed young on the Pentacam can be monitored, but if they need that surgery to halt that progression and the bulging of the eye, they can get it free at the hospital and that is our objective,” she said.