Consultant ophthalmologist, Dr. Hazel Shillingford Ricketts has announced that from this year, the government will be giving patients who suffer from glaucoma, free eye medication.

This week is celebrated worldwide as Glaucoma Week and Thursday, March 14, as Glaucoma Day.

Dr. Ricketts said patients have to be 60 years and older in order to receive the free medication.

“Early last year the Ministry of Health took a decision to provide all the glaucoma eye drops free of charge to patients 60 years and older and our patients have been very grateful and happy about that,” she said

“More than a decade now that I have applied to the drug store…making pleas on behalf of the patients to get their medication free of charge and finally…that application was reviewed and successfully adopted…” Dr. Ricketts revealed.

She said because of this initiative the risk of patients going blind is minimized.

According to the ophthalmologist, glaucoma is a painless progressive disease that affects the nerve of the eye and causes loss of vision primarily, the peripheral vision.

She said one does not know if it’s happening until it is too advanced and advised that when persons reach the ages of 35-40, regular eye check-ups should be done as there is no cure for this disease which is the leading cause of irreversible blindness.