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KPH gets laser eye treatment machine

Saturday, August 12, 2017

PATIENTS affected by the eye conditions glaucoma and cataracts will have improved access to corrective surgeries at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH).

This is through the donation of a state-of-the-art laser machine to the facility by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' (LDS) global charities.

Valued at US$70,000, the machine provides Selecta Duet Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) and yttrium aluminium garnet (YAG) ophthalmic laser treatment for medical conditions within the anterior segment of the eye.

This includes glaucoma, a condition where increased pressure within the eyeball causes gradual loss of sight; and cataracts, which occur when the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision.

The machine is to be installed shortly.

Speaking to JIS News at a symbolic handover ceremony at the hospital's downtown Kingston location on August 9, head of the Department of Ophthalmology at KPH, Dr Angela Mattis, explained that the machine offers YAG and SLT photo disruption capabilities in one unit.

SLT is a type of laser surgery used to help lower intraocular pressure (IOP) in glaucoma patients, while YAG lasers can be used in both glaucoma and cataract surgeries.

“It is a combo. It is a YAG, which is a special type of laser that disrupts the membrane so it becomes crystal clear again. The SLT is the actual mechanism that treats the glaucoma; it helps drain the fluid from the eye and lowers the pressure, which damages the eye nerves. It does two treatments,” she pointed out.

Chief executive officer (CEO) for the facility, Errol Greene, expressed gratitude for the piece of equipment.

He said it will go a far way in providing essential ophthalmic services for the hundreds of patients who access the hospital's services.

“The eye clinic is by far the largest clinic at the KPH; we see hundreds of patients a day. On an average day, we see up to 500 patients daily... This laser will go a far way in speeding up the waiting time for surgeries, and the end result will be an enhanced quality of life for those who use these services,” he noted.

Consultant ophthalmologist and representative for LDS Charities, Dr Jesse Hunsaker, said the humanitarian organisation has been providing essential medical equipment and training to the KPH since 2012.

“We like to focus our efforts on helping those who provide care to the underserved... those who don't have health insurance, those who are poor and have significant health needs,” Dr Hunsaker said.

Since 1985, LDS Charities has provided assistance to people in 189 countries.

The donation, made through the long-standing partnership between the South East Regional Health Authority and the global charity, is one of several initiatives aimed at providing high-quality care throughout the public health system.