The eye clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital officially reopened Friday, 26 August.
Minister of Health and Human Services Anthony Eden officiated at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
After the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan, the clinic had to operate out of the specialist clinic, he said.
‘This limited the level of service provided,’ Mr. Eden said.
More than CI$75,000 was spent on repairing the facility, which has been restored to the benefit of the people of the Cayman Islands, he said.
‘It shows what we can achieve when we work together,’ Mr. Eden said.
The minister thanked the Lion’s Club for its efforts toward repairing the clinic and cited its dedicated members.
‘Your involvement in the eye clinic was especially heartening,’ he said.
According to the minister, 4,000 patients received consultations last year at the clinic, with 200 operations and more than 50 laser treatments performed.
‘It is comparable to any private facility on the island,’ he said.
Coinciding with the reopening has been the arrival of a full-time ophthalmologist, Dr. Jyotin Pandit. His first day on the job was Monday, 22 August.
He has definite ideas for the clinic.
‘I want to expand the teaching of ophthalmology through holding regular meetings with ophthalmologists on the island, for continued medical education,’ he said.
The doctor also is looking to set up a database of eye diseases that will include what each patient suffers from. The database will also be used for research and to determine the proper allocation of funds.
‘I want to have a library as well,’ he added.
Mr. Pandit noted that glaucoma and pterygium are two common eye diseases here that he will be treating.
In fact, during his fourth day at the clinic, he performed his first surgery, on a patient with pterygium, which is caused by exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Mr. Pandit, who has a two-year contract, brings with him more than 15 years of experience as an ophthalmologist, most recently serving as associate specialist at the Western Eye Hospital in London.
Dr. Tamer Tadros, medical director of the Health Services Authority, spoke highly of Mr. Pandit.
‘He is very experienced. I am really proud to have him here. He will certainly expand the services and I will support him,’ Mr. Tadros said.
Part of the expansion includes a new digital retinal camera, made possible through the help of the Lion’s Club, which is devoting fundraising efforts to purchase the equipment.
With digital photographs, they can set up a database of before and after pictures of the retina, Mr. Pandit explained.
In addition, since there is no retinal specialist on the island, these photos can easily be sent overseas to be assessed, which will improve the quality of care because there should be a 24-hour turnaround for a retinal opinion, he said. At the moment it takes weeks for an analysis and opinion since normal photographs are used.
Estimated cost of the equipment is US$21,000, with an additional $5,000 needed to bring in the technicians necessary to set it up as well as train people on its use and how to archive the data collected.
Past president of the Lion’s Club, Uriel Scott, spoke of the organisation’s work toward preventing blindness. He recounted stories of patients’ vision being restored at the eye clinic and how everyone can help their efforts.
‘So, when you have the money, please give it to us,’ he said.
Mr. Scott also praised the work of former Lion’s Club president Philip Hislop, who was instrumental in getting the eye clinic built in 1992, during his year in office.