Brighton hospital staff share their skills with Caribbean colleagues

Nurses from the Caribbean are visiting Brighton this week to learn from experts at The County Hospital. The Diabetic Eye Screening Team are leading the fight against diabetes-related blindness in England and now they’re sharing their knowledge with a team from Dominica.

Nurse Edyta Cartwright with Ophthalmology Nurse Carlene Matthew (Left to right)

People with diabetes often suffer damage to their eyesight, and there is an effective screening programme and prompt diagnosis of this in England. Diabetes is a growing problem in Dominica where a large number of people go undiagnosed and lose their eyesight. There is a limited screening programme and the island’s clinicians want to expand this. This has grown worse since the hospital was damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Graders from the Diabetic Eye Screening Programme are training Ophthalmology Nurses Nanda Luke and Carlene Matthew to grade photographs of patients’ retinas. When they return home, they’ll be able to recognise the early symptoms of diabetes-related blindness, and to sign-post diabetics for further treatment.

Stacey Mainwaring, Team Leader of The Diabetic Eye Screening Team, said: “The damage caused to someone’s vision happens very slowly. By using retinal photography we can pick up on this before it happens. Our Trust was one of the first to roll out the diabetic eyes screening service and it’s fantastic to share our learning because this can save someone eyesight.”