JIS News

Persons suffering from nyctalopia, otherwise known as night blindness, can now benefit from treatment under the Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Programme.
This brings to 10, the total number of conditions being treated under the programme, which is also known as Mission Milargo (Miracle Mission). Initially, the programme focused primarily on the treatment of cataract and pterygium cases. However, it was later expanded to include myopia, ptosis (drooping of upper eyelid), retinitis, pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, stabismus (cast eye) and the implantation of eye prosthesis.
Night blindness is a condition that makes it difficult or impossible for a person to see in relatively low light and it is the symptom of several eye diseases, which may exist from birth, or caused by injury or malnutrition.
Liaison Officer for the Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Programme based at the Jamaican Embassy in Cuba, Delita McCallum, told JIS News in an interview, that the treatment for nyctalopia and strabismus were added to the list last year.
“Cuba has a programme that they have adopted over many years and it has been effective and we have people in Cuba from various countries not only from Jamaica receiving treatment for this condition,” she said. Patients, she noted, require extended treatment. “Our patients have reported tremendous results from the treatment and so you see this is an area that can assist as many persons as possible,” Ms. McCallum said, adding that, so far, 10 persons had benefited.
As for the inclusion of treatment for strabismus, Ms. McCallum said there was a 100 per cent success rate in dealing with the condition. “We have not had any complications at all in any of the surgeries related to treating strabismus,” she told JIS News.
“The children will tell you that they look more beautiful after surgery, so the whole question of self esteem and the ability to learn improves immensely,” Ms. McCallum pointed out.
In August 2005, the Governments of the Republic of Cuba, Venezuela and Jamaica together with Caribbean partners Dominica, Guyana, St. Lucia and Suriname, signed the historic Bilateral Agreement ‘Mission Operation’, for their nationals to receive medical attention in the field of ophthalmology in Cuba. Some 20,000 Jamaicans have been screened since the inception of the programme, while 5,000 surgeries have been performed.

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