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Dr Gerard Saltibus MD
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Dr Gerard Saltibus MD   My Press Releases

Glaucoma - A Primary Health Care Problem

Published on 9/13/2013
For additional information  Click Here

Dr. Gerard Saltibus MD.
Glaucoma or an abnormal rise in the eyeball pressure continues to be one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide; even more prevalent among the black population. In some countries it is the leading cause of blindness and may not even present with any symptoms. No wonder it has been called the "silent thief of sight".

Traditionally the screening and initial diagnosis is left to the Ophthalmologist and optometrist. However many patients will not have any other signs and symptoms of raised intra-occular  pressure (IOP) until when some damage is done.

As a health care problem, primary health care professionals in most countries are left completely out of the screening process whereas they are the ones with the greatest chances of attending to the vast majority of patients.

Combating Glaucoma and the resulting blindness must start at the primary health care level. This means that other healthcare professionals must be trained to screen and diagnose the condition and the appropriate referral made to the specialist. The technique is easy to learn and training will not cost much. 

By having primary health care professionals such as physicians (GPs), Family nurse Practitioners, RNs, Physician assistants, we will be treating glaucoma as an important medical condition such as diabetes and hypertension. 

Glaucoma screening therefore should form part of routine medical examination by our primary health care professionals ensuring that the fight against blindness has a holistic and integrated approach.

The diagnosis of glaucoma is done with a simple device called a tonometer. The examination is called tonometry. There are various types of tonometers but for screening in the primary health care setting I would recommend the contactless diaton tonometer. Here are some advantages of this type in the primary care level:

1. Reasonably priced.
2. Available worldwide
3. Portable 
4. Staff can be easily trained in it's use.
5. No special preparation of the patient is needed.

Setting up a screening program in your area is an added value and everyone can benefit from it.

Feel free to contact me for any help needed.

Interested in reviewing the tonometer click here.
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