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Sight Saving Month at UST Hospital Department of Ophthalmology

By Bennice Leslie Hope F. Robles, MD

The first week of August marks the beginning of Sight Saving Month. It is a yearly celebration by the Department of Health which aims to strengthen public awareness regarding the importance of proper eye care to reduce the prevalence of avoidable blindness in the country. Sight saving Month was launched on August 4, 2013 with the annual "Walk for Sight" which was participated by several ophthalmologists and optometrists, Ophthalmology Departments of several institutions, NGO partners, LGUs, various pharmaceutical industries and students. The University of Santo Tomas Hospital Department of Ophthalmology Consultants, Residents and Eye Center Staff headed by Dr. Reynaldo M. Javate (Chair of the Department) also joined in the event. Carrying their balloons and respective banners, the delegates marched their way from Vito Cruz via Roxas Boulevard towards Rizal Monument. The highlight of the activity was the wreath laying ceremony at Dr. Jose Rizal's monument with guests Dr. Enrique A. Tayag (DOH Assistant Secretary) and Dr. Andreas Mueller (WHO).

In observance of this year's theme "Alagaan ang Mata Mula Pagkabata Hanggang Pagtanda" the PAO Sight Preservation Committee in partnership with the Retinopathy of Prematurity Working Group (ROPWG) has chosen to focus and increase advocacy for referral and screening of babies with ROP.

In line with August Sight Saving Month activities, the UST Hospital Department of Ophthalmology conducted lay fora on Retinopathy of Prematurity, Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy and Hypertensive Retinopathy at UST Hospital OPD. This is to empower patients, especially those at risk, to know more about the disease and submit themselves for screening. In-house surgical mission at UST Hospital Eye Center were also prepared for indigent patients. The department also launched the newly acquired Descemet's Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) system which is regarded as one of the most significant advancements in corneal transplantation today.

Due to the sharply increased incidence and prevalence of dry eye disease and diabetic retinopathy, the department also plans to launch the Dry Eye Clinic and Diabetic Retinopathy Clinic at San Damian Ward-UST Hospital Clinical Division which will be used as a platform for information dissemination, treatment and research of these diseases. Through proper education on sight preservation and provision of eye care, the UST Hospital Department of Ophthalmology will continue its advocacy to help the visually impaired for a brighter life.

USTH Department of Ophthalmology Chair, Dr. Reynaldo M. Javate, Ophthalmology Residents and Eye Center Staff together with PAO President, Dr. Ruben Lim Bon Siong

Dr. Reynaldo M. Javate and USTH Department of Ophthalmology residents with Dr. Ruben Lim Bon Siong and DOH Assistant Secretary, Dr. Enrique A. Tayag

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