Anglia Ruskin to carry out major eye survey
Press release issued: 20 July 2012
Professor Rupert Bourne
NESTT project is first nationwide assessment in Trinidad and Tobago in 80 yearsOphthalmic experts at Anglia Ruskin University have been tasked with carrying out a nationwide survey by the Trinidad and Tobago Government.
"The purpose of NESTT is to discover where the unmet needs are within Trinidad and Tobago. Anglia Ruskin staff will be the scientific advisors for NESTT and we are currently assembling a team to work alongside the University of the West Indies.
"The Caribbean has very little data on this subject; in fact there hasn't been a study in this region for about 20 years. This Trinidad and Tobago project, which will take two years to complete, should help to fill a hole of knowledge that has been exposed by the Global Burden of Disease Study."
"The area of eye care has been identified as a pressing issue in Trinidad and Tobago. One area the Ministry of Health of Trinidad and Tobago hopes to address is the lack of data on eye health and blindness.
"One of the things we do know is that 70% of the eye surgeries performed in Trinidad and Tobago is for the removal of cataracts. Approximately 2,500 cataract extractions per year are performed at our public hospitals, with approximately 3,000 new cases being presented annually. Because of this long waiting time, up to two years in some regions, many people become blind or visually impaired due to this readily treatable condition.
"The last, admittedly incomplete, assessment of blindness in Trinidad and Tobago took place in 1932. Without an evidence base, it is extremely difficult to effectively plan a program of eye care which reaches across the population as a whole."
"Diabetes is not only a major cause of admissions to our hospitals, as there are many health complications linked to the disease, but according to World Health Organisation reports, after 15 years of diabetes approximately 2% of people become blind, and about 10% develop severe visual impairment.
"The large numbers of the population presenting with cataracts is also linked to this high prevalence of diabetes in Trinidad and Tobago."