Dubai Health Authority Dubai Eye Health Survey
Image Credit: Supplied

Noor Dubai Foundation, in partnership with Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and the Dubai Statistics Centre, announced the launch of the Dubai Eye Health Survey on Monday at DHA headquarters in Dubai.

The survey aims to gather population-based data regarding visual impairment in Dubai to learn about the magnitude and causes of eye impairment in the emirate and plan preventive strategies accordingly.

Fighting visual impairments

The survey is targeting 2,190 people who are 40 years and older, of which 664 are Emiratis and 727 are expatriates.

The survey will be implemented from this month by Noor Dubai Foundation, in partnership with DHA, the Dubai Statistics Centre in addition to Medcare Hospital and Al Zahra Hospital Dubai.

Four MoU’s were signed by Noor Dubai Foundation and each of the stakeholders, including the Dubai Statistics Centre, Medcare Hospital, Al Zahra Hospital Dubai and Rivoli, which will be providing 500 free glasses and gift vouchers for survey participants.

Commenting on the launch of the survey, His Excellency Humaid Al Qutami, Director General of DHA and Chairman of the Noor Dubai Foundation, said that Noor Dubai Foundation constantly strives to implement preventive and treatment plans and programmes to fight all types of visual impairment worldwide.

He added that the foundation has benefited 27 million people around the world who are suffering from preventable forms of blindness since its inception in 2008.

Al Qutami also pointed out that the authority supports this survey directly, as part of its strategic goals for disease prevention in all health fields including eye diseases.

“This information is crucial for the strategic development of eye healthcare in Dubai as it will be used to assess the general condition of eye health in the emirate. It will also provide relevant information needed to plan future projects that will affect the local economy,” said Dr Manal Taryam, CEO of Noor Dubai Foundation and CEO of DHA’s Primary Healthcare Sector.

Dr Taryam stressed the importance of having a population-based survey because the only current data available is hospital-based, which is not representative of the whole population.

Dr Taryam added that Noor Dubai Foundation also organised three-day training sessions for the nurses, optometrists and ophthalmologists involved from DHA and Medcare Eye Centre and Al Zahra Hospital Dubai in November to prepare them for collecting the data for the survey. The Centre of Eye Research Australia will provide full data analysis and publish its research papers in international medical journals.

Comprehensive screening

Data will be collected from within four DHA primary healthcare centres that have an ophthalmology clinic: Nad Al Hammar, Al Twar, Al Mizhar, Al Mankhool and two private entities, including Al Zahra Hospital Dubai and Medcare Eye Centre.

“The comprehensive eye screening will also include a blood test, measuring eye pressure and taking pictures of the retina as high eye pressure and diabetes are the leading causes of eye problems in the UAE and we want to know the causes of visual diseases and impairments in Dubai,” said Dr Taryam.

“The data will help us draft a strategy for the prevention of blindness in the emirate of Dubai, it will also help regulators to plan the future expansion of eye care services delivery and rehabilitation.”

Tariq Al Janahi, Deputy Executive Director of the Dubai Statistics Centre, said the survey will be implemented jointly under as part of the centre’s framework in supporting strategic sectors and government institutions.

The centre’s role in this partnership is performing the technical statistical operations such as designing and drawing the statistical sample, preparing a statistical software and operating the statistical contact centre in addition to extracting results and indicators.

Al Janahi praised Noor Dubai Foundation and DHA’s support during the preparatory stages, stressing that the centre fully appreciates the importance of this survey and its strategic implications for plans and policies related to eye health, which affects the quality of life of community members.