Dominicans urged to do their part in the fight against Glaucoma

Beat Invisible GlaucomaMinister for Health, Dr. Kenneth Darroux, says while the public health services are doing their part in combatting Glaucoma, the populace must also contribute towards the fight.

Darroux’s remarks come on the occasion of World Glaucoma Week which runs annually from March 8-14th. It is a joint initiative of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) and the World Glaucoma Patients Association (WGPA).

“The Public Health services here in Dominica have been combating glaucoma over the past years and a number of programs and strategies are in place to ensure that we do our part. The government of the Commonwealth of Dominica recognizes the importance of preventing blindness hence our annual observance of World Glaucoma Week to increase public awareness, provision of services and treatment for glaucoma,” the minister said. “I therefore urge each and every one of us to play our part. People 35 and older, especially those with relatives who have glaucoma, should have regular eye examinations.  Glaucoma patients must adhere to their treatment and follow-up appointments.”

According to WebMD.com, Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to your eye’s optic nerve and gets worse over time. It’s often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma tends to be inherited and may not show up until later in life. The increased pressure, called intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. If damage to the optic nerve from high eye pressure continues, glaucoma will cause permanent loss of vision. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years.

Darroux stated that in Dominica it is estimated that about 1,600 people are living with Glaucoma and approximately 10 per cent of them are clinically blind.

He noted that Glaucoma is second only to cataracts as the leading cause of blindness and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness here in Dominica. He adds that when one considers the common risk factors of family history of glaucoma, aging, ethnicity, elevated eye pressure and eye trauma, coupled with the fact that lowering the intraocular pressure still remains the one and only treatment one can very well appreciate why Glaucoma has been, and still continues to be a serious public health issue, not only here in Dominica, but throughout the entire world.

He also pointed to a study which was done to determine the prevalence and projection numbers of glaucoma cases in the age group 40-80 that revealed that there are about 64.3 million people worldwide, living with glaucoma, and this number is expected to increase to 111.8 million by the year 2040, disproportionately affecting people residing in Asia and Africa.

The health minister pointed to the following programs and strategies which the government is using to tackle  glaucoma:

-The National Strategic Eye Plan provides for eye programs utilizing the strategies of early detection and the availability of affordable treatment.

-Eye services are integrated in Primary Health Care. It is available and accessible in the Seven Primary Health Districts, at the Princess Margaret Hospital, the Dominica Infirmary and in the Private Sector.

-It is the policy of the eye service to perform opportunistic screening for glaucoma for all patients seen at the eye clinics irrespective of their presenting complaints.

-Some of the glaucoma medications are available free of charge in all primary health districts and the others are available at cost price at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

-The government policy of free health care to children 18 and younger and people 60 years and older serves to make all corrective medical and surgical treatment resulting from glaucoma affordable.

-The government’s introduction of “Yes We Care” program ensures that our senior citizens, a high risk group for glaucoma, now have responsible caregivers who ensure that they keep their eye clinic appointments and of course comply to the treatment and management outlined.

Darroux also said that plans are underway to introduce additional forms of treatment like selective laser trabeculoplasty which will be especially useful to those non-compliant patients.

The theme for Glaucoma Week this year remains: Beat Invisible Glaucoma (BIG).

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10 Comments

  1. Bird's Eye
    March 17, 2015

    The anwswer to Glaucoma is not unknown.
    Just ask Peter Tosh

  2. never shameful
    March 17, 2015

    As a Dominican from canefield currently working as a certified glaucoma tech in one of the best eye hospital in the world located in Boston for more then 10 yrs, I can say glaucoma is very serious. Intra ocular pressure (IOP) will damage ur optic nerve causing firstly permanent peripheral vision (side vision) lose. Individuals don’t realize the lose until it’s too late. If a member of ur family has glaucoma, then please get chked. Also people with diabetes should get their eye chked to make sure they do not develop diabetic retinopathy. If u get struck in the eye (trauma) get an eye pressure chk. If u have glaucoma it’s very important to use the drops as directed.
    Good article.
    Much love to my D/a ppl

  3. Truth and Justice
    March 16, 2015

    You people, this was World glaucoma week, so he addressed glaucoma,causes and prevention and tretment. Regular eye check is important as the man said. Because glaucoma is insidiousmeaningitcreeps up slowly you are not aware and by the time you realise thedamge is done andonce the nervesare damaged it cannot be restored,but with yearly check it can be prevented.

  4. Gone clear
    March 16, 2015

    “….they say it cure glaucoma….oooh ooh ooh……so legalise marijuana…ooh ooh ooh….”…….Tosh is right because that’s a medical fact. :wink:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuQVeeZki_E

  5. The Facts
    March 15, 2015

    As we become older we will experience some sort of ailment. If diagnosed early, the illness could be stabilized if not eradicated.
    What is important is to observe healthy – nutritious habits. This should commence at an early age. I hope the District nurse will assist to educate the patients in this respect.
    Have a nutritious breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks with necessary fruits and vegetables.
    It is important to drink ample water and also herb tea.
    As I have previously stated, there is ample information pertaining to fruits and vegetables on health Websites which will assist to combat certain illnesses also of the eyes.
    Vitamins are necessary. Some will state that they eat well and do not need vitamins. They are only supplements which could also be instrumental in building up our immune system as we do our utmost to eat as nutritiously as possible.

  6. Dan Tanner
    March 15, 2015

    Dominicans eat too much sugar. Try to find unsweetened breakfast cereal in stores…

  7. Eatherb
    March 15, 2015

    oh that Kenneth Darroux who go and play the fool with bitcoin lying to the people and never coming forward to clear the air….

    • OneDestiny
      March 15, 2015

      Hmmmmm, you need help. What does this have to do with subject matter?

  8. Righteous
    March 15, 2015

    I am really surprise that the Minister of Health did not point out or mentioned Diabetes and the effects of the Diabetic eye diseases i.e Glaucoma and Cataract. Diabetics are more likely to contract these conditionings. Having said that, the link/connection needs to be made between Obesity and Diabetes. You can reduce your chances of getting Diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight and increasing your physical activity. Once again, the Ministry of Health should start with a simple campaign….” Move Dominica; Creating a healthy and slender Nation.” (Just a suggestion).

    Many of the diseases in our society can be linked back to lifestyle which contributes to Obesity and then creates a domino effect. Move Dominicans, Move! Take a morning walk, enjoy the sunrise, take a swim. Take and evening stroll, enjoy the sunset, take a swim.

    One Love Dominicans!!!

    • Ideal
      March 15, 2015

      I totally agree with you. we need to lose the weight eat properly. Lets get moving Dominicans, eat more local foods. Forget the pizza, KFC, and burgers.

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