“We must get into prevention,” said Michele Ming of Ming’s Optical.
As an Optometrist/ Opthalmic Optician, Ming has been in the business of eye care for more than two decades. Based on what she has observed over the years, she confided that it is imperative that efforts are directed towards preventing conditions that can compromise vision and health as a whole.
“I am very concerned about the standard of health and eye care, particularly in Guyana. We must have early detection of eye problems,” said Ming.
Speaking from her Lot 6 Urquhart Street, Cummingsburg, Georgetown office recently, Ming revealed that “many times people come here for an eye test and it isn’t always just about getting spectacles.”
According to her, “many times people have diabetic and hypertensive problems at the back of their eyes and it is too late. So we really want to let people know that it is important for them to do regular eye checks very early and have a comprehensive eye examination for the whole health of their eyes…it mustn’t just be for spectacles and glasses, that cannot solve all the problems going on at the back of the eyes.”
Part of the comprehensive eye care to which Ming alluded includes eye examinations to detect other eye defects including glaucoma and cataract.
Glaucoma is an eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. It can lead to loss of vision if not detected.
It can affect people of all ages, including babies and young children, but is most common in adults in their 70s and 80s, much like cataract, which manifests with a clouding of the lens in the eye that effects vision.
“To keep up with all of that, there are a number of technologies now that help us in that sort of field…like the retinal camera, it can take pictures of what’s going on at the back of the eyes so that we can document it and patients can see and understand what’s happening,” said Ming. Among the machines that are available to enhance how eye tests are done, she said, is the corneal topography machine that can map the corneal contour of the eyes.
She revealed that her establishment has been on a mission to encourage people to adapt behaviours that will help to safeguard their eyes in a holistic manner.
“This has been my goal over the years, to make sure that people recognise the importance of comprehensive eye care,” said Ming.
To help advance her knowledge in this field, Ming has been forging a number of strategic collaborations. She is currently the President of the Guyana Association of Optometrists, which is a part of the World Council of Optometry.
The World Council of Optometry is the global organisation for optometry professionals, their associations and institutions. It was through this body that Ming just last month attended a meeting for optometrists in India.
“One of their things is the scope of practice and improving eye care worldwide not just in Guyana or in the Caribbean,” Ming underscored.
Aside from its location in Urquhart Street, Ming’s Optical also has branches at Parika, East Bank Essequibo, and at Rose Hall, Berbice.
As part of its efforts to help advance vision care, Ming’s Optical also has in place a computerised laboratory which affords clients stocked lens within a day.
The organisation is also capable of making available to its clients’ specialised lens which, according to Ming, has to be specially ordered.
Safeguarding eye care, with the aim of preventing blindness, is a major focus of health sectors across the world.
According to the World Health Organisation, globally, more than 80 percent of all vision impairment can be prevented or cured.
In this regard, areas of progress over the last 25 years include: governments established national programmes and regulations to prevent and control vision impairment; eye care services increasingly available and progressively integrated into primary and secondary health care systems, with a focus on the provision of services that are high quality, available and affordable; campaigns to educate about vision function importance and raise awareness, including school-based education; and stronger government leadership on international partnerships, with increasing engagement of the private sector.
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