Share LocalNews Early detection & treatment critical to reduce blindness from glaucoma by: Dominica Vibes News – March 8, 2016 86 Views one comment Share Tweet Share Sharing is caring! Glaucoma patient. Photo credit: learningall.comThe significance of early detection and treatment in order to reduce blindness associated with glaucoma has been highlighted by Minister for Health and the Environment, Dr Kenneth Darroux. This as Dominica has joined in the global observance of World Glaucoma Week from Sunday 6 to Saturday 12 March 2016 under the theme ‘Prevent Blindness from Glaucoma; Get Involved!’ World Glaucoma Week is organized jointly between the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patient Association in an effort to eliminate blindness resulting from glaucoma.Glaucoma can be described as a group of eye diseases which causes progressive optic nerve damage resulting in a gradual loss of vision. Minister for Health and the Environment Kenneth Darroux, in his address to the nation in observance of the week, stated that no effort must be spared to reduce the incidence of blindness from glaucoma and all must be involved in the early detection, diagnosis and management of glaucoma.“It is also of great importance to know that the loss of vision and blindness from glaucoma is permanent, meaning it cannot be reversed, and whilst it cannot be cured, it can definitely be controlled, making it imperative that detection, diagnosis and management be made in a timely manner”.Minister Darroux said early detection and adherence to treatment to lower the intraocular pressure is one of the main strategies needed to reduce blindness from glaucoma.“In order to maximize the effectiveness of this strategy one must target those at risk – mainly blacks over the age of 40 years, and the relatives of people already diagnosed with open angle glaucoma.”Dr Darroux highlighted several treatments and preventative measures that are available here in Dominica, geared to combat glaucoma and its effects:1. Delivery of eye services in all seven Primary Health Districts, at the Princess Margaret Hospital, the Dominica Infirmary and in the private sector to enhance affordability, availability and accessibility for screening and treatment for glaucoma; 2. Performing opportunistic screening for glaucoma for all patients seen at the eye clinics irrespective of their presenting complaints; 3. Providing some of the glaucoma medications free of charge in all primary health districts and others at cost price at the Princess Margaret Hospital; 4. Screening eye examinations by the VOSH team in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Dominica during their annual eye missions in Dominica for over 20 years and 5. Treating open angle glaucoma with Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty or SLT is an ongoing research for over a year in Dominica. Dr Darroux informed that this year the eye team during their scheduled eye clinic, will be hosting an exhibition and lecture on glaucoma at the St. Joseph health Centre on Thursday, March 10 from 9am. “In addition, there will be a number of radio talk shows, during the week, to inform the general public. We will continue to provide the resources for regular comprehensive eye care including treatment of glaucoma and of course to the further enhancement of these services when our New National Hospital is commissioned in a few years from now,” Dr Darroux informed.