Bridgetown, Barbados, August 27, 2019 – If all goes as planned, come World Sight Day 2019, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital should have its first ever Pentogram Tomography Machine.
The state of the art ophthalmology machine, worth around BDS$166 000 represents the latest technology in eye examination and will be able to perform 3D investigations of the eye and be used to diagnose Keratoconus – a progressive condition where the normally round cornea takes on a cone like shape that causes visual impairment and ultra-sensitivity to light.
Founder and Trustee of Keratoconus Barbados (KC), Roseanne Myers, on accepting a cheque to cover the cost of the machine from Colette Delaney, CEO of CIBC FirstCaribbean and Chair of the bank’s Comtrust Foundation, said that her aim was to get the machine in Barbados and installed to celebrate World Sight Day on October 10th this year.
The short ceremony was attended by bank officials, members of the management committee and board of trustees of the registered charity and by Director of Medical Services at the QEH, Mr. Tony Harris and Head of the Ophthalmology Department Dr. Sherwin Benskin.
The patient support and advocacy group, was founded in February 2019 with the objectives of raising awareness of the condition, raising funds to be better able to diagnose the disease and to create a body of research using Caribbean people infected with the condition.
Mrs. Myers explained that Keratoconus used to be termed ‘a rare disease’ but the group has been finding out that it is not as rare as first imagined. In fact, there are a number of people, including young children, both in Barbados and in the OECS that are affected by the condition.
She stated that a number of cases, especially in children, goes undiagnosed because of the absence of a machine at the QEH. “The acquisition of this machine can also create another area for medical tourism as there are already a number of regional nationals who come to Barbados for eye treatment and this machine will be able to facilitate more of them” she added. “My vision is to make Barbados the facility for best practice in the management of KC in the region.”
CIBC FirstCaribbean’s chief executive officer, Colette Delaney in handing over the cheque said that when the Foundation heard about the need for the machine and the number of people that it could help in Barbados and the region, they were delighted to assist.
She called on Corporate Caribbean to help in this regard and urged KC Barbados to get its story out there. Mrs. Delaney explained that the bank would be giving the money not just to buy the machine but also to ensure that there was three years of maintenance added to the cost to ensure that the machine was looked after and properly maintained during that initial period.
Mrs. Myers also explained that KC Barbados was planning a number of fundraising outreach activities including a Vision Care Expo and a charity golf event where two blind golfers will play alongside sighted golfers to raise awareness, the proceeds of which will fund diagnoses for children as well as the corrective scleral contact lenses that are needed by those who have the eye ailment.