By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
The alarm has been sounded on glaucoma – one of the leading causes of blindness – as the ophthalmology division of the Princess Margaret Hospital kicked off Awareness Week yesterday with a special church service.
Under the international theme “Beat Invisible Glaucoma”, the division, in conjunction with the Public Hospitals Authority, is celebrating Glaucoma Awareness Week 2020 until March 14.
The main goal is to promote community awareness of the condition so that Bahamians know its effects and take a proactive stance in curbing it.
Glaucoma is one of leading causes of blindness and visual impairment. For this reason the ophthalmology division of PMH will be special emphasis on testing with a number of activities throughout the week.
Educational talks by ophthalmic nurses continues today and tomorrow at various clinics around the island. There will also be a glaucoma conference at the Ministry of Health featuring various specialists.
Complimentary glaucoma screening for teachers and support staff in Eastern District schools with valid School ID will take place this Saturday at PHA Eye Care Centre, Soldier Road.
Teachers and staff are eligible from schools including Akhepran International Academy, Blairwood Academy, Cleveland Eneas Doris Johnson, Kingsway Academy, LW Young, Queens College, Sadie Curtis Sandilands Primary, St Augustine’s College, St Anne’s School, and Thelma Gibson.
Dr Rana Greene, consultant ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist of the division, said they want to stress the importance of eye examinations throughout the week.
“One should have a comprehensive eye examination every one to two years. Your eye care professional may recommend more frequent eye examinations accord,” she said.
Many eye conditions like glaucoma, Dr Greene explained, have no warning signs in the early stages.
“Your comprehensive eye exam is the first step in protecting the health of your eyes. Also, your eye exam can sometimes identify systemic conditions affecting the body and prompt you to seek the necessary medical care. The year 2020 is designated as the year of vision. Since 1999, there has been a global initiative called Vision2020 to eliminate avoidable blindness. Today is the perfect time to get your eyes checked,” she said.
Dr Greene added that glaucoma is a primary cause of irreversible blindness and vision loss, affecting over 60 million people worldwide.
“The aim of the activities during Glaucoma Week is to promote community awareness of the eye condition and the importance of being screened,” she said.