Although construction of the Lion’s Eye Care Centre has been dormant since the 1990s, the department’s staff had used that time to position it to be the leading facility of its type in the eastern Caribbean.
Director of Medical Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, David Callender, made this statement recently, during the official handover ceremony of the centre.
Callendar, who is also an opthamologist, said: “We haven’t been sleeping. The plan was that when these doors opened a team would move in. When the theatre suite becomes operational, we intend to, at a minimum, double our surgical output… At that time we would be able to tackle the backlog of cataract patients left by the exit of the Operacion Milagro.”
He gave the assurance that in four to six months the department would be able to deal with those persons who were on the “cataract waiting list” and would reduce the waiting time for cataract surgery to “probably a few weeks”.
“We now have in this department, every major sub-specialty service that you can find in any eye care facility in the first world. We have general ophthalmology services dealing mainly with the treatment of cataracts, glaucoma and other general conditions.
“In addition, we have a Paediatric Ophthalmology Service including orthoptics, to manage those children who have squints and low vision. We have a glaucoma specialist on staff to look after challenging cases… We have a vitreoretinal surgeon on staff — he and his team look after our diabetic patients who have complications affecting the back of the eye, which are many… We have an oculoplastic surgeon and her team looks after all of the plastic surgery interventions in the eyes and orbits,” Callendar said.
He revealed that the QEH Department also had on staff, a corneal and external eye disease specialist and was using state of the art lasers and imaging equipment. In addition, a Barbadian was also in training in Toronto, Canada, in the field of neuro-opthamology and would be back by the end of the year.
Minister of Health Donville Inniss, Lions Council Chairman of Multiple District 60, Lloyd Barker, Lions Zone Chairman, Zone 3A., Dr. Carlisle Goddard, and a number of other Lions were on hand for the handover ceremony and the unveiling of the plaque.