Black Immigrant Daily News
Persons with a family history of glaucoma are at high risk for the condition and should prioritise early screening, says Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St James, Dr Valence Jordan.
Speaking during a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, Jordan said these persons should, ideally, get screened five to 10 years before the age at which the family member was diagnosed.
“Let’s say you have a family member who [was] diagnosed with glaucoma at 40, then you will need to be screened at least by 35, probably even 30,” he said.
Beyond this, Jordan suggested that “if you’re 40, then you should have a comprehensive eye test that would help to rule out glaucoma”.
He said that given the disease’s prevalence in Jamaica, the test could be done early “because there are a lot of younger people who have glaucoma, as well, and the earlier you pick up glaucoma, the better”.
Jordan shared the findings of a study that evaluated the economic factors affecting a cohort of Jamaican glaucoma patients at a selected health facility, during the ‘Think Tank’.
The study won him the award for Best Oral Presentation at the Ministry of Health and Wellness 13th National Health Research Conference last November.
The objective of the research, titled ‘The Vision-related Quality of Life in Jamaican Glaucoma Patients: Economic Perspectives’, was to determine the extent to which economic factors affect patients with vision-related quality of life.
The cross-sectional study used a sample size of 96 glaucoma patients at a public health facility.Patients previously diagnosed with glaucoma had their visual acuity tested and underwent an interview to determine sociodemographic, economic and medical characteristics.
Jordan explained that a Vision Function Questionnaire (VFQ 25), which has been used in similar studies across the world, was administered.
“The Vision Function Questionnaire has 25 questions, and it’s designed to tell us how a patient’s vision is affecting their daily activities. So, essentially, this is a gauge of their quality of life,” Jordan said.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness globally. Further, that open-angle glaucoma, which is the most prevalent form, results in increased eye pressure.
Fifty per cent of persons afflicted with glaucoma are unaware that they have the disease, as there are often no early symptoms.
Jordan noted that while there is no cure for glaucoma if detected early, persons can prevent further vision loss and preserve their sight.