Sirisena ready to assist Coolege of Ophthalmology


By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena expressed willingness to assist in improving the activities of the College of Ophthalmology.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the 21st Annual Scientific Sessions College he said that the College of Ophthalmology had been going from strength to strength since its establishment long years ago. The government’s major commitment to the society was let any human being have sight. To achieve the objective the government would leave no stone unturned to allocate the required funds.

He pointed out that the dauntless efforts exerted by the college had paid off. The government hospitals which were lacking state-of-the-art ophthalmological equipment would be provided with it soon. As requested by Dr. Ms. Manel Pasquel, new training programmes would be commenced in the near future. Even the doctors attached to the public service would soon undergo relevant training in ophthalmology to broaden their medical knowledge, he said.

Chairman International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) Prof. David Taylor said that the Sri Lanka College of Ophthalmology had made steady progress since its inception. The WHO was genuinely interested in improving ophthalmic care in Sri Lanka, because the medical standards maintained by the country was on par with the advanced countries. He said he would be able to assist the ophthalmology trainees to achieve success.

President of the College of Ophthalmology Sri Lanka Dr. Ms. Manel Pasquel stressed that the importance of ophthalmology in the Medical Undergraduate Curriculum was a long-felt necessity, because many patients were prone to contract eye complications due to adverse effects of the environment. She had been fascinated by the wonders of ophthalmology and miracles it could do. Shee was determined to become an ophthalmologist to save the sight of the people.

She pointed out that one of the many roles of an ‘eye doctor’ could be described as the detection and surgery of eye conditions, screening, vision tests for the issuance of driving licenses. It would also relate to specialists such as pediatric medicine, neurology, obstetrics, rheumatology and adverse reaction of medications.

Dr.Ms. Pasquel added that approximately 95 per cent of the sensory input to the brain required for driving would come from the vision. It was essential for adequate standard of the vision to be set for the driver of any vehicle and these were set down as guidelines from the College of Ophthalmologists Sri Lanka. Pre-term low birth weight babies had a risk of blindness. If they had not been screened by a pediatric ophthalmologist for retinopathy of retinopathy.

She said that currently with the improvement of technology, couples seeking sub fertility treatment were increasing. In terms of laser treatment, it could be done to the areas where there were no normal blood vessels. The laser machines were expensive and available only in four eye units in the State-run hospitals in Sri Lanka. If ophthalmologists would not screen pre-term babies at the correct time, the retina would be destroyed and the chances of the preservation of the vision was minimal. Congenital cataracts would have to be detected early and the vision could be restored by the cataract surgery.

Dr. Ms. Paquel reiterated that the undergraduate medical students should possess the ability to test vision and refer to an optometrist when required. Graduate doctors should be capable of managing ocular emergencies like foreign body removal and they should be aware of the main causes of the blindness in the country.

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