The Clinics

Pacific Eye Institute

Suva, Fiji

Fiji is home to the Pacific Eye Institute. A hub for eye care in the Pacific, it provides training for the eye care sector throughout the Pacific region and delivers the full range of eye care services. As the first dedicated eye health training facility in the Pacific, the Institute is crucial to ending avoidable blindness and countering the massive shortage of eye specialists throughout the region.

History

Health care in the Pacific faces a number of challenges including low government spending, a lack of doctors and nurses, and rundown clinics and equipment. It’s also very hard for patients living in remote communities to access the health services they need. We established the Pacific Eye Institute in 2006 to help address these issues, with a focus on providing training in eye care for local doctors and nurses.

The Pacific Eye Institute was initially located at Tamavua Hospital in Suva. In 2010, we built a new custom-made eye care and teaching facility to house the Institute on the grounds of the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. The opening of the new facility allowed the Institute and the hospital to join forces, increasing both teaching and patient care and helping to cement the Pacific Eye Institute’s role as an eye care hub in the country and the region.

In 2011, the Diabetes Eye Clinic was opened at the Institute to provide diabetes eye care services and to deliver a teaching programme for nurses in diabetes eye care. This followed our research in 2009 which revealed that more than 40 percent of adults aged 40 years and over in Fiji have diabetes, meaning demand for diabetes eye care services is huge.

Why train from Fiji?

Before the Pacific Eye Institute, the only place where Pacific doctors could be trained in eye care was in Papua New Guinea. This lack of eye care training opportunities for Pacific doctors had led to a tendency for them to take short, non-clinical, one-year eye care courses in Australia and New Zealand. These provided inadequate eye care training for the Pacific doctors and further re-training was generally required. The establishment of the Pacific Eye Institute meant that local Pacific doctors had the opportunity to be properly trained in their own region.

What training is offered at the Pacific Eye Institute?

The Institute offers a series of courses in eye health, focused on the particular eye care needs of the Pacific. The courses are administered by Fiji National University’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. It also provides ongoing professional development and workforce support to its graduates and other eye care workers, advocates for investment in eye care, and undertakes research.

The Pacific Eye Institute is a significant provider of eye care services in Fiji and in outreach locations across the Pacific, performing around 2,000 eye surgeries a year. This means there are good opportunities for eye nurses and doctors in-training to get practical experience.

Information for patients and family of patients

Pacific Eye Institute/Colonial War Memorial Eye Clinic

Brown St, Suva
(+679) 3100 424
pacificeyeinstitute.org

Opening hours

(Please note Fiji is one hour behind New Zealand)

Monday – Thursday 8:00am – 4:30pm
Friday 8:00am – 4:00pm
Saturday – Sunday CLOSED

Key Achievements

In 2016, in partnership with the Colonial War Memorial Hospital’s eye department, the Pacific Eye Institute:

  • Gave 25,385 consultations
  • Performed 1,677 sight-saving surgeries
  • Carried out 1,346 diabetic laser treatments
  • Dispensed 2,895 spectacles

The Institute is also the base for our Pacific outreach team and the Mobile Eye Clinic, which in 2016 delivered a further:

  • 11,163 consultations
  • 1,900 surgeries
  • 4,479 pairs of spectacles

The Pacific Eye Institute has trained 150 eye doctors, nurses, and technicians. In 2017 there are 30 students enrolled.

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