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St. Vincent and the Grenadines has joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Glaucoma Week, March 9-15. T

he theme for this year is “BIG — Beat Invisible Glaucoma”.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause progressive damage of the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye to carry visual information to the brain, the Ministry of Health says.

If left untreated, most types of glaucoma progress — without warning nor obvious symptoms to the patient — towards gradually worsening visual damage and may lead to blindness.

Once incurred, visual damage is mostly irreversible, and this has led to glaucoma being described as the “silent blinding disease” or the “sneak thief of sight”.

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Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness worldwide.

In this regard, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment will conduct two clinics at the Outpatients Department of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital today (Monday) and Thursday, when visiting ophthalmologist Benet Henry will conduct glaucoma testing and treatment.

There will also be an open house session on today at 8 a.m., at the outpatients clinic, where Henry will speak to patients, the media and visitors about glaucoma and what can be done to take care of their vision.

A video will also be shown and educational materials about the disease will be on display.

The public is invited to attend.