The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) will be offering free glaucoma testing in observance of World Glaucoma Week. The free screening sessions dubbed “Check your eyes for Glaucoma” will commence on Monday, March 7 at 12:00h up to 15:00h daily until Friday, March 11. However, the ophthalmologists will only be seeing 50 patients per day.
Persons eligible for screening include all those who are 40 years or older. According to the Government Information Agency, the service will be offered to individuals below 40 years who are eligible only if they are among the ‘at risk’ population, such as persons with relatives diagnosed with the disease, persons of African descent or if they are suspected to have the illness. Individuals who have already been diagnosed with glaucoma are not eligible for screening. Appointments can be made at the Eye Clinic’s clerical desk at the GPHC.
This undertaking is through a partnership with the Public Health Ministry and ANSA McAL group of companies.
In Guyanese patients, open angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. Patients of Afro-Guyanese origin are more prone to develop open angle glaucoma and are more likely to have family members who suffer from it. 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 but the GPHC offers two common treatment methods; provision of eye-drops and glaucoma surgery, which includes Laser Trabeculoplasty (open angle) and Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (closed angle).
In 2015, the facility launched its first laser treatment for glaucoma and screened approximately 350 patients in observance of the 2015 World Glaucoma week. Laser treatment for glaucoma is not recommended for all patients.
The theme for this year’s observation is ‘B-I-G – Beat Invisible Glaucoma’. This campaign was chosen because of the fact that many people who suffer with glaucoma are usually unaware.