Most of the congregation at St. Paul's of Uganda Church are originally from the north of the country and were displaced as a result of the recent troubles there. Many are elderly and diabetic and thus at risk of losing their sight if any diabetic eye disease goes un-diagnosed and un-treated.
Due to recent developments in diagnostic equipment and software, patients no longer have to visit a clinic to have an eye check-up. This allows us to screen for eye disease in the community and get to patients early. Unfortunately many patients with eye disease wait until it is too late to visit a clinic due the distances they must travel with the associated expense.
There is never a shortage of spectators at our clinics. The church also houses a school and children in attendance were curious about what was going on.
The most un-comfortable part of the examination results from the eye drops administered to dilate the pupil. The drops do sting but our nurses comfort the patients and re-assure them that it will help with the examination.
Patients waiting patiently for the eye drops to work.
I always feel for our patients who are clearly disturbed by the drops,
Our nurse, Rosette checks for pupil dilation after the drops. When she is happy the drops have worked, patients can move to the next stage of the examination.
After dilation, patients wait for us to take pictures of the back of their eyes. From their images, we can screen for the presence of diabetic eye disease.
The camera we use works best in low light conditions so we found a dark space at the back of the church.
Paul, our retinal photographer takes a picture of the retina in both eyes and transmits them via computer to a cloud-based algorithm that screens for eye disease. This means the clinic can run without an ophthalmologist present.
We are developing a training programme on how to screen for diabetic eye disease in the community. This will include training on how to use the portable equipment and software now becoming available for such purpose.