Citizens urged to take advantage of free glaucoma screening

DPI, Guyana, Monday, March 12, 2018

In observance of World Glaucoma week 2018, free eye screening is being made available at the Georgetown Public Hospital’s eye clinic from March 12 to 16. All persons are asked to take advantage of the opportunity to have their eyes tested. ‘Go get your eyes tested for Glaucoma: save your sight’ as the theme suggests.

Glaucoma is a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball that causes a gradual loss of sight. This irreversible condition means, if diagnosed, it cannot be cured.

Ophthalmologist, Dr. Jenell Sarju-Kanhai (right), examining the eyes of one of the patients getting screened for glaucoma.

On the first day of the free screening exercise at GPH, Ophthalmologist, Dr. Jenell Sarju-Kanhai shared with Department of Public Information (DPI) what the public may need to know as they contemplate getting examined.

Dr. Sarju-Kanhai explained that “Glaucoma is actually a progressive disease that affects the nerve at the back of the eye, you can’t see it… we only use special equipment in order to check the back of the eyes so we see the optic disc”. Additionally, studies show, if the damage continues without being detected, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss.

Chances of any person being diagnosed with glaucoma depend on whether a family member may have had the disease prior. Stressing the importance of being tested, the Ophthalmologist noted that despite this fact “there are other secondary causes, for example, a hit to the eye or an accident or so, also the use of certain drops for a long period of time which you are not supposed to use”.

Congenital glaucoma also exists, this means babies can be born with it. This explains the reason the one-week screening for glaucoma should be utilised. It was explained that persons may have reached the ages of 50 or 60 years, without being aware that they have glaucoma.

“It doesn’t cause any symptoms at all until it’s in the advanced stage that’s when we can’t do anything much for the patient. You won’t get any pain, you won’t get any redness of the eye… the only case where you may get some amount of symptom is a case called acute glaucoma,” the Doctor said.

Free glaucoma screening has been made available from 13:00hrs to 14:30hrs, however, based on public response, the time could be extended to 15:00hrs for the five-day period. For persons who have already been diagnosed with glaucoma, there is no need for them to be screened again, however, they can follow up on treatment to prevent blindness.

 

By: Delicia Haynes

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