World glaucoma week 2018 “check your eyes for glaucoma” – free glaucoma screening sessions

Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation

PRESS RELEASE

WORLD GLAUCOMA WEEK 2018

“CHECK YOUR EYES FOR GLAUCOMA” –

FREE GLAUCOMA SCREENING SESSIONS

World Glaucoma Week (March 11th to 17th 2018) will once again be observed. For the past 7 years the hospital has been offering an enhanced glaucoma service at the Eye Clinic.

In honour of WGW 2018 observances, the hospital will be involved in two activities:

  1. One week of Free Glaucoma Screening Sessions and
  2. Glaucoma CME Session for Health Professionals

 

  1. Free Public Glaucoma Screening Sessions Check your eyes for Glaucoma

The hospital will be conducting daily glaucoma screening sessions during the week from Monday March 12th to Friday March 16th 13:00hrs to 14:30hrs at the GPHC, Eye Clinic. The staff Ophthalmologists will be screening approximately 40 patients per day. Vision testing, Eye pressure testing and examination of the eye nerve will be done. As patients arrive at the clinic they are required to register with the clerks and will then be given a slip for the screening process. Registration will be limited to the daily quotas.

Eligible individuals for screening include:

  1. All Individuals who are 40 years or older
  2. Individuals below 40 years are invited ONLY if you have the following risk factors:

– persons with blood relatives diagnosed glaucoma

– persons of African descent

  1. If you have already been diagnosed with glaucoma you are NOT eligible for screening.
  2. Glaucoma suspects are eligible for screening
  1. Glaucoma CME Session for Health Professionals

In collaboration with Medi Pharm Inc, the hospital will be hosting a Glaucoma Continuing Medical Education (CME) Session for Health Care Professionals on Sunday March 18th 2018 from 8:00 hrs to 12:00hrs at the Herdmanston Lodge, Queenstown. These sessions will concentrate on educating Medical Practitioners, Optometrists, Nurses and other eye care professionals on Glaucoma diagnosis and management.

In Guyanese patients, Open Angle Glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma. Patients of Afro-Guyanese origin are more prone to develop open angle glaucoma and are more likely to have family members suffering from glaucoma. It has also been found that glaucoma in Afro-Guyanese patients is usually very severe and more difficult to treat.

There are many ways to treat open angle glaucoma. Over the past years, patients at the hospital have been exposed to the two common methods of treating glaucoma which are medications (eye-drops), laser procedures and glaucoma surgery.

This World Glaucoma Week campaign was chosen because of the fact that many people suffer with glaucoma and they still do not know it! It’s called “invisible” glaucoma because the disease acts silently by causing damage to the optic nerve (the eye nerve which allows us to see the world) without the patient having any notable symptoms. Hence, bit by bit over the years this damage continues, unknown to the patient, until almost the entire nerve is destroyed. This nerve damage (called glaucomatous optic neuropathy) is permanent and cannot be reversed. Hence, at that time when the patient begins to start experiencing visual symptoms, they would already have had significant nerve damage. Thus, the need for early screening of the disease. Once glaucoma is diagnosed early, treatment can be started early and hence prevent persons from becoming blind unnecessarily. Glaucoma can be controlled with treatment so that patients can enjoy comfortable vision throughout their life.

At the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, the Department of Ophthalmology offers services for diagnosing and treating Glaucoma. The hospital offers daily eye clinics on weekdays where patients can be given eye examinations for the detection of Glaucoma. Patients need to be referred to the hospital before they can obtain an appointment for any service. These referrals can be obtained from their general physicians.

According to Dr. Shailendra Sugrim, Head of Department and Glaucoma Specialist at the Georgetown Public Hospital, last year in observance of World Glaucoma week, approximately 250 patients were screened for glaucoma through a collaborative effort by Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and Nurses.

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