A 2007 survey found that cataract was the leading cause of blindness followed by glaucoma, diabetes eye disease and eye injuries. Cataract and uncorrected refractive error were responsible for 56 per cent of visual impairment, with diabetes eye disease accountable for 13 per cent. In most cases, uncorrected refractive error can be easily solved with a pair of glasses.
Samoa has a large diabetic population who require screening and treatment for diabetes eye disease. We began a diabetes eye disease screening programme in 2017 and are supporting the eye care team to establish a diabetes eye care programme.
Samoa has one permanent eye doctor who graduated from the Pacific Eye Institute in 2016 and an optometrist who won the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2014. These two local female leaders are doing a wonderful job in leading Samoa's national eye care programme, meaning we can scale back our outreaches to Samoa. We’ll continue to support the local team through our workforce support programme which ensures our graduates have suitable clinics, retain their skills and confidence, and receive support from their government.