Sunday, January 21, 2018
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The National Eye Clinic has informed it now has the capacity to perform surgery on patients with sight problems including retinal detachment operations.

National Eye Clinic has informed it now has the capacity to perform surgery on patients with sight problems including retinal detachment operations.

Eye Clinic (Officer in Charge) OIC Belmerio Jeronimo said the new equipment and additional human resources will mean Timor-Leste can now reduce the number of patients transferred overseas to treat eye problems.

He added the clinic sends 6-8 patients for eye surgery in Indonesia and Singapore annually due to lack of equipment.

"We already have the machine and this will help reduce the cost of sending patients overseas," he said.

He said the cost of patient transfer for eye surgery overseas amounts to 40 thousand US dollars per patient and one relative as it includes travel and accommodation for the entire duration of the treatment.

He added so far the national eye clinic provided only eye consultations, performed limited eye cataract operation but from now onwards it will be able to perform also retinal detachment operation.

Other more serious eye conditions including eye tumours will continue to be referred overseas for treatment because the clinic is not able to attend to these types of eye disease as yet.

Retinal detachment occurs when the thin lining at the back of eye that is linked to the brain gets torn due to head trauma affecting the eyes and it can also be caused by diabetes.

When untreated it may lead to permanent blindness but if treated early, sight can be restored even if not totally.

A survey conducted in 2006 on blindness prevention in Timor-Leste found the main eye diseases affecting the Timorese include cataracts and other optical diseases such as retina detachment.

One Vitrectomy Megatron S4 type machine was offered to the national eye clinic at the Natioanl Hopsital HNGV in Dili by International Organization LIONS Club.

Besides offering the machine, the organization also provided funds for the clinic to conduct outreach activities and cataract operations in the municipalities.

Meanwhile, eye specialist Dr Marcelino Correia said the eye team is ready to assist patients in need of retinal detachment operation.

"Those who suffer from diabetes should have routine check-ups to determine quickly if they have eye complications that should be treated to avoid blindness,” he said.

Dr Correia said eye disease is also caused by diabetes.

Therefore, he urged the government to pay attention to eye health services particularly with human resource development in this field also given the number of people in the community suffering from vision problems. 

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