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Ophthalmic medical care in Ukraine has been heavily disrupted by the Russian invasion. In Ukraine, private clinics provide half of the countries eyecare, and these have been closed due to the war. Practitioners have adapted by providing online consultations where they can, as this is currently the safest option. Elsewhere, ophthalmologists in the centre of the war have moved to field hospitals.

✅Ophthalmic Aid to Eastern Europe:
In 1990, Ophthalmic Aid to Eastern Europe (OAEE) was set up with the aim to provide ophthalmic instruments, equipment, textbooks, and journals for post-graduate centres in Eastern European countries. OAEE have also organised teaching visits to numerous Eastern European countries, and funded workshops in Moldova, Romania, and Russia.

In 1993 the first humanitarian support to Ukraine, ‘Focus on Lviv’ began. ‘It was a timely and very valuable support for ophthalmologists at Lviv Medical University, especially after the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the deterioration of funding in medicine’, giving valuable help to Ukrainian ophthalmologists. Further shipments of ophthalmic aid were sent to Centre of Eye Microsurgery in Kyiv and Lviv Medical University in 1996 and 1997.

Post-graduate training programmes in Ukraine were organised in 2002, giving a variety of lectures on clinical ophthalmology. In 2014 and 2017, Ukraine received grants from OAEE for short-term training placements at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, giving young Ukrainian ophthalmologists the opportunity to gain valuable experience.

✅The United Kingdom and Ireland Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons

The charity and educational ophthalmic society, the United Kingdom and Ireland Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (UKISCRS) have donated £5,000 to support ophthalmology in Ukraine during these difficult times.

This donation came about from a unanimous vote and the money will go to the The European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) Surgeons restricted fund, which intends to support the ophthalmic industry and its practitioners in Ukraine. In a statement about the donation, the UKISCRS praised the work being carried out in the country “Our thoughts are very much with [Ukraine], and we extend our respect and admiration for [their] continuing to carry out their vital work within a population that now needs them more than ever.”

To understand more about how the war in Ukraine is impacting the ophthalmology industry, and how, more than ever, provisions for eyecare and ophthalmology is needed, please take the time to watch this video by COOKIE Magazine

If you are aware of other aid the ophthalmology and eye care industry are providing to the Ukraine during this war, please mention it in the comments so they can be recognised for their selfless work.