HAVANA.- The 8th International Congress and 16th of National Ophthalmology is to begin on Thursday in Havana with a demonstration of the island’s achievements in the field.

PhD Juan Raul Hernandez Silva, President of the Cuban Association of Ophthalmology highlighted to the press the development of the field in the country mainly in the Operacion Milagro project, which was founded by the leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro in 2004 and has benefited millions of people in over 30 countries.

Hernandez Silva, head of the Education and Research Departmnet of the Ramon Pando Ferrer Ophthalmology Institute said that the event, held at the Convention Center will have 700 representatives from Cuba and a dozen countries.

Under the slogan “Visual Health for All”, the event will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Pando Ferrer Ocular Microsurgery Center founded by Fidel on April 29th, 1988.

Since then, over one million patients have been assisted of these 301 thousand 892 have received surgery (mainly cataracts: 215 thousand 562), reported Dr. Reinaldo Rios Caso, Deputy Director of the Pando Ferrer and head of the National Ophthalmology Group if the Ministry of Public Health.

Dozens of specialists from over 20 countries have been educated in the center and have taken the special course on cataracts in the country and abroad in addition to having carried out several investigations related with crystals and cataracts, he said.

The Ocular Microsurgery Center has national and international prestige for çthe quality of its service and high level of professionalism of its doctors, nurses, optometrists, engineers, computer specialist and service personnel whom have contributed to the successes of the past three decades, he said.

Rios Caso said that at the beginning the surgeries were carried out by a team, through a procedure that consisted in operating the refractive surgeries, glaucoma and cataracts in series. Each one of the five surgeons that made up the team carried out a surgical process at a time, he added.

In early 2000, due to the advances of the techniques with ultrasounds for the cataracts surgery and the Excimir Laser for the refractive operations, the procedure was modified and was replaced by the individual surgery and the Cataract Service Center was introduced.