Coordinator of the Jamaica/Cuba Eyecare Programe, Gregory Thomas, has described as overwhelming the response of persons to eye screening sessions held in Kingston, Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth, St. James and Portland in July.
Speaking with JIS News, Mr. Thomas reported that over 1,000 persons were screened for cataracts, pterygium and diabetic retinopathy – the three conditions for screening is being done at this time. Nearly 350 persons were selected for surgery.
Mr. Thomas is however appealing for persons to desist from attending screening sessions for general eye examinations.
"We find that a number of persons are turning up who do not fulfill the conditions which we are looking to treat right now, under the programme. People come to see us for consultations, so we can provide them with a prescription for glasses. It really puts us out of our way, and from our mandate which is to see patients who have diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and pterygium," he noted.
He said that this only hampers their ability to diagnose persons who are living with the specified conditions and who require urgent care.
Mr. Thomas said that, currently, the focus is on treating persons who have been selected for surgery, in order to prevent a backlog of cases.
"We don't want to create a situation where there is a backlog, so we will try our best to treat these persons first," he insisted.
He said that the team will be making return visits to some locations to accommodate persons who registered, but were not examined due to the high turnout.
"These sessions will not cater to the general public, but to persons who made the effort to come out and have us look at them, "Mr. Thomas added.
The Jamaica/Cuba Eyecare Coordinator is also advising persons who have been selected for surgery, to ensure that they get clearance from their medical practitioners before they turn up at the St. Joseph's Hospital for surgery.
"This saves us a lot of time and it saves the patient a lot of time and money, because if a patient is coming from, say, Westmoreland to Kingston and they are not properly checked by their doctors, then we will probably have to turn them back until they are declared medically fit to do undergo surgery," he explained.
Persons are encouraged to monitor the media for updates on upcoming screening sessions.