Hanover Residents Benefit From Eye-Care Initiative
Published: Saturday | January 5, 2013
For over 10 years, the United States-based Eye Health Institute (EHI) has been providing eye-care treatment to residents of Hanover. Last year, the team of volunteers served some 516 patients during their mission.
“This year’s trip was focused on glaucoma screening due to an increased prevalence of the disease. Because of the limited access to eye care in rural Jamaica, many people with glaucoma don’t receive treatment until it is too late,” Dr Richard Cross, founder of EHI, explained.
“The ability to screen younger patients allows us to identify signs of glaucoma at a stage before vision loss occurs. With early diagnosis, glaucoma can often be treated with drugs or surgery to prevent blindness,” he further added.
EHI is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, and has served over 7,000 patients since 1996, dispensed 3,500 pairs of prescription glasses, and performed 60 surgical procedures, including cataract surgery, pterygium removal, and corneal transplants in Hanover and surrounding areas.
BEYOND DIRECT TREATMENT
“With help from organisations such as American Friends of Jamaica, the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, the Garner Foundation, and American Airlines, the scope of EHI’s 2012 mission went far beyond the direct treatment of over 500 patients. Their assistance helped us to purchase a portable GDx (glaucoma diagnosis machine), as well as a surgical microscope and operating table that allowed EHI volunteers to screen patients for optic nerve damage, and conduct surgeries,” the EHI founder said.
EHI has provided two complete exam rooms, an auto-refractor, optical lab, and thousands of reading glasses and sunglasses for the Grange Hill community in the parish. The Noel Holmes Hospital also benefited from its efforts with the installation of a brand new surgical microscope and table.
“The team is committed to the region and the ability to outfit Hanover with state-of-the-art ophthalmic equipment. With support from the Ministry of Health, the Grange-Kendal Health Center, and the Noel Holmes Hospital, EHI has been able to establish a more stable presence in the area, and we intend to continue to provide quality eye care to those who need it,” Cross stated.