PRESS RELEASE – LIAT, The Caribbean Airline, is collaborating with Antigua-based Optometrist Dr. Jillia Bird to offer their annual vision screening for the company’s Engineers and Mechanics.
As the launch of the vision screening programme, being spearheaded by the Maintenance and Engineering Department, comes mere weeks ahead of the start of the annual World Glaucoma Week, the Maintenance and Engineering Department has extended the programme to address the glaucoma issue.
During Glaucoma Week, the Antigua & Barbuda Glaucoma Support Group seeks to focus attention on “that sneak thief of sight”.
Glaucoma is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness.
Executive Manager Maintenance and Engineering Errol Hodge underscored the importance of regular vision screening.
“In our line of work we are required to carry out inspections in varying degrees of light to confirm existing conditions in areas of the aircraft that sometimes may not be easily seen. As people age we have seen instances where some are finding this difficult. It is our responsibility to ensure that everyone has vision of a universally accepted standard, as this is fundamental to quality maintenance,” Mr. Hodge said.
Dr. Bird, who is also Founder of the Antigua & Barbuda Glaucoma Support Group; Caribbean Coordinator; and World Glaucoma Week Committee President, said way too many people are going blind globally when an estimated 80 percent of blindness is avoidable.
She added that 90 percent of the world’s blind people live in developing countries such as ours.
“Partnerships such this one with LIAT will go a long way in detecting visual impairment. The highest prevalence population in the world is Caribbean black males over 30. It’s serious. It’s worse than Cancer and HIV,” she said.
More than 100 employees will be screened in the programme.