EYE PROGRAMS (Ophthalmology) is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye. Cuba is considered to have some of the most experienced ophthalmologists in both surgical and medical ophthalmology who undergo six years of medical training and three years of residency in the full spectrum of eye-care, medical treatment and complex microsurgery.
There are three different types of eyes specialist for the treatment of international patients:
Ophthalmologist: an ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in all areas of eye disorders. An ophthalmologist is trained to diagnose and treat all eye diseases, perform eye surgery and prescribe eye wear for the correction of vision problems. Most often an ophthalmologist is involved in scientific research for causes and treatment or cures of eye disorders.
Optometrist: optometrists differs from an ophthalmologists in that they are not medical doctors and though they are trained in the diagnosis of certain eye conditions and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases their main focus is on providing primary eye care such eye exams and vision correction.
Optician: opticians are technicians rely on prescriptions given by ophthalmologists or optometrists to fit eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct vision. They are not trained to diagnose or treat eye disorders.
Currently there are 25 centers in Cuba dedicated to the prevention of eye problems and eye disease as well as treating already existing eye disorders such as cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma. One of the main nationally and internationally renown hospitals for eye care is the Instituto Cubano de Oftalmología Ramon Pando Ferrer (Cuban Institute of Ophthalmology). The institute is considered nationally and internationally as a reference center as well as a teaching center with a large number of specialist and teachers who have extensive knowledge and experience.
Eye care in Cuba whether in the Cuban Institute of Ophthalmology or other eye clinics in Cuba includes diagnosis, medical and/or surgical treatment as well as emergency services. All eye clinics in Cuba are equipped with state-of-the-art technology for the diagnosis of various eye diseases and innovative surgical techniques.
Cuba’s advancement and contribution in ophthalmology is internationally recognized and has through the development of Operation Miracle, a joint operation between Cuba and Venezuela started on July 8, 2004, improved or restored vision to an estimated 2.2 – 3.4 individuals through simple eye care and eye surgeries. The success of Operation Miracle has prompted the setup of ophthalmological centers in 31 countries with 55 surgical centers mostly in Latin America, the Caribbean as well as some in Africa and Asia. Since 1991, Cuba has become a leader in health tourism for eye surgery and eye care.