Residents are being urged to get screened for glaucoma, a disease which can cause blindness if left untreated.
“Unlike in other countries, where the risk is less and people say check when you are over 40 or check when you are 65, in Barbados, anyone 21 and over should have a check for glaucoma,” Dr Dawn Grosvenor told Barbados TODAY.
She said that “the silent killer of sight” was equivalent to non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
“People get into trouble with glaucoma and lose their vision from it if it is not treated adequately or if it is not picked up early enough. This is something you should be checking, not just high blood pressure and diabetes . . . but also glaucoma because that has a very high prevalence here in Barbados and the Caribbean,” Dr Grosvenor, the sole glaucoma specialist on the island, said at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Glaucoma Testing Day held this morning.
She explained that as a hereditary disease, those with a family history were likely to get glaucoma earlier; and she advised individuals experiencing blurry vision to get tested.
“Family history is so important. If a parent has glaucoma and their child is going to develop it, usually that child will develop it 10 years earlier than the parent,” Dr Grosvenor said.
“It is really imperative that people come in to get checked before they notice something is wrong with their vision,” she said.