The official handover of the Vision Centre in Kadawatha by the International Centre for Eye care Education (ICEE) to Lions Golden Jubilee Trust for Healthcare and Skills Development took place recently. The event commemorated ICEE’s successful involvement and collaboration with Lions since 2009.
Since the Vision Centre’s establishment, it has successfully promoted eye care services within the Gampaha District and other distant areas of the country including Kurunegala, Anuradhapura and Puttalam, through the Lions’ outreach camps. The Centre symbolises a remarkable achievement for ICEE, becoming the first Vision Centre to develop under the support and guidance of Lions Golden Jubilee Trust for Healthcare and Skills Development.
ICEE Country Representative Anitha Munasinghe commenting on the progress and development of Vision Centre development in recent years said: “By handing over the Kadawatha Vision Centre to the Lions Golden Jubilee Trust, we are expanding our services to accommodate the demand from the community.”
She added that the partnership between the two organisations was pivotal in the provision of full eye examinations, affordable low cost spectacles, and free cataract surgery to poor and deserving patients.
Elaborating further, Munasinghe said: “Patients referred from other ICEE Vision Centres throughout the country also receive free cataract surgery at the Golden Jubilee Hospital. Most of these patients would never have been able to afford cataract surgery on their own. Overall, the expansion of the hospital, would contribute towards the treatment of glaucoma and diabetes related eye care problems. The ICEE is very appreciative and commends the voluntary services of Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr. Manel Pasqual and Sumithra Wickremasinghe, while also acknowledging the contribution of all other dedicated staff at the centre.”
ICEE, in collaboration with other international and local stakeholders, first commenced eye care services in Sri Lanka after the devastating tsunami in 2004. During the early service delivery and training trips it soon became evident that many Sri Lankans had never had an eye examination which is thought to be linked to the shortage and distribution of eye care services, and the high cost of spectacles in Sri Lanka which is beyond the affordability of many in the community.
Since the Kadawatha Vision Centre opened its doors, 9907 free eye examinations have been conducted and 4674 spectacles have been provided to those in need and presently, the ICEE has four other Vision Centres in Sri Lanka.