University challenge: collaboration for major eye survey

July 21, 2012

Anglia Ruskin University is working in collaboration with the University of the West Indies to conduct the National Eye Survey of Trinidad and Tobago (NESTT).

Anglia Ruskin University is working in collaboration with the University of the West Indies to conduct the National Eye Survey of Trinidad and Tobago (NESTT).

The survey will be Trinidad and Tobago's first major eye survey in 80 years and will initially include 7000 randomly chosen subjects. Trinidad and Tobago currently has the highest rate of diabetes in the Caribbean with almost one in five of the population affected.

Dr Khan, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Health, said, "One area the Ministry of Health of Trinidad and Tobago hopes to address is the lack of data on eye health and blindness. One of the things we do know is that 70% of the eye surgeries performed in Trinidad and Tobago is for the removal of cataracts. Approximately 2500 cataract extractions per year are performed at our public hospitals, with approximately 3000 new cases being presented annually. Due to this long waiting time, up to two years in some regions, many people become blind or visually impaired due to this readily treatable condition."

Professor Bourne, Anglia Ruskin's Vision and Eye Research Unit (VERU), commented, “The purpose of NESTT is to discover where the unmet needs are within Trinidad and Tobago. Anglia Ruskin staff will be the scientific advisors for NESTT and we are currently assembling a team to work alongside the University of the West Indies."

Professor Bourne also leads an investigation, compiled by the Vision Loss Group for the World Health Organisation, entitled "Global Burden of Disease Study." He continued, "The Caribbean has very little data on this subject; in fact there hasn’t been a study in this region for about 20 years. This Trinidad and Tobago project, which will take two years to complete, should help to fill a hole of knowledge that has been exposed by the Global Burden of Disease Study.”