Globally, an estimated 2.2 billion people live with some form of visual impairment or blindness, and of these, 1 billion have a visual impairment that was preventable or not yet treated.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world and the second leading cause of moderate or severe visual impairment, which is only surpassed, in the latter case, by refractive errors. While glaucoma is the second common cause of blindness and the first for irreversible vision loss.
Congenital cataracts are the number one cause of visual impairment in children, followed by retinopathy of prematurity, congenital glaucoma, corneal opacities, and congenital malformations of the optic nerve, said Teresita de Jesus Mendez Sanchez, MD, pediatric ophthalmologist, grade II, in Cuba. Strabismus from the Cuban “Ramon Bando Ferrer” Institute of Ophthalmology.
The most common diseases in adults are cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration, although he insists that in order for a person to be considered visually impaired or blind, they must have severely impaired vision in a better eye and an extremely low visual field. After treatment or use of glasses.
With regard to myopia, astigmatism, and farsightedness, the doctor explained that they are refractive defects that require visual correction, either with glasses or contact lenses, in addition to follow-up consultation. In the case of amblyopia, treatments with eye patches and atropine are indicated to force the obstructed eye to improve vision.
As a master’s degree in comprehensive pediatric care and assistant professor and researcher explained that amblyopia is visual impairment in one or both eyes despite the patient wearing glasses, so early diagnosis and treatment are essential for visual rehabilitation.
Mendez Sanchez noted that if these conditions are not treated, they can cause visual impairment and be a school problem, because one in three children with learning disabilities has a visual disturbance.
During the months of the epidemic in the country, ophthalmological care decreased, but the emergency service continued with consultations and surgeries for patients who needed them, both in regional institutions and at the Cuban Institute of Ophthalmology “Ramon Pando Ferrer”, towards where those more complex cases were transferred. At the center, surgeries were performed for glaucoma patients and pediatric cataracts and devices for glaucoma drainage were placed.
In this regard, physicians of science and retinal specialists Meisy Ramos López and Beatriz Rodríguez Rodríguez explained that due to the proximity of patient care, it was necessary to modify the vitreoretinal service, in which surgical operations are concentrated throughout the national territory. strategies.
One of the most requested was the creation of groups on WhatsApp to help in ophthalmological emergencies in the country, by prior coordination with the specialists in each region.
Through this system, it was possible to care for patients with trauma, retinal detachment, decreased vision, infectious diseases, eye redness, pain, distorted images, light sensation and flying flies; Those after the operation maintained follow-up in their governorates.
However, specialists agreed that despite the efforts, ophthalmological care has been significantly affected, especially elective surgeries for cataracts, glaucoma, and care for the chronically ill.
On the theme of World Sight Day and World Strabismus Day, on October 15, the Cuban Society of Ophthalmology and the Cuban Institute of Ophthalmology “Ramon Bando Ferrer” developed the first virtual workshop and the 11th National Day of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus on Thursday and Friday.
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