Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 22nd 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt March 22 - 2017
The frequency of the eye disease Glau-
coma is raising concerns among ophthal-
mologists on the island.
Ophthalmologist, Madelynn Waldron,
highlighted the issue during a series of clin-
ics held throughout the island as part of the
World Glaucoma Week (March 13-17) cele-
Dr. Waldron was among a group of eye
care professionals including staff from the
Eye Care Clinic of the Scarborough Hospital,
Blind Welfare Association, Optometry Stu-
dents from UWI and Optometrists from
Tobago Eye care who collaborated to screen
persons from five different districts across
Dr. Waldron said the team commemorat-
ed the week of events by hosting lectures
and educational briefings because Tobago-
nians need to be aware of the disease.
"Glaucoma is hereditary so if you have
any relative who has tested positive for the
disease it's important to get tested and the
earlier, the better."
Describing the disease she said it is basi-
cally damage to the optic nerve. She noted
that as the nerve gradually deteriorates, blind
spots develop in one's visual field.
"For reasons that doctors don't fully under-
stand, this nerve damage is usually related
to increased pressure in the eye. Elevated
eye pressure is due to a buildup of a fluid
that flows throughout the eye," she explained.
She added: "This fluid normally drains
into the front of the eye through tissue and
when fluid is overproduced or the drainage
system doesn't work properly, the fluid can't
flow out at its normal rate and pressure
Noting that people should pay particular
attention to signs of the disease, she said
the symptoms "vary depending on the type
and stage of your condition."
Giving examples of the variation she said:
"Persons with open-angle glaucoma may
experience patchy blind spots in your side
or central vision, frequently in both eyes and
tunnel vision in the advanced stages."
However she noted that in the case of
acute angle-closure glaucoma, patients may
experience severe headache, eye pain, nausea
and vomiting, blurred vision, halos around
lights and eye redness.
If it is left untreated, glaucoma will even-
tually cause blindness. Even with treatment,
about 15 per cent of people with glaucoma
become blind in at least one eye within 20
Dr Waldron said Tobagonians should be
particularly cautious as they are at risk
because of numerous factors.
"The disease is prevalent among persons
with black heritage with certain medical
conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease,
high blood pressure...which are all lifestyle
diseases we see frequently in Tobago."
According to Dr. Waldron the most com-
mon form of glaucoma has no warning signs.
The effect is so gradual that one may not
notice a change in vision until the condition
is at an advanced stage.
She urged persons to get their eyes tested
regularly as vision loss due to glaucoma can't
However, if glaucoma is recognized early,
vision loss can be slowed or prevented. If
you have the condition, you'll generally need
treatment for the rest of your life, she said.
Patient Education Session.
Patient Education Session with Dr Madelynn Waldron.
Optometrists Madelynn Waldron and Christina
Garcia: Victim just as culpable
Four female Mayaro Secondary School
students who were involved in fracas last
Tuesday could now face expulsion, Edu-
cation Minister Anthony Garcia said
He made the revelation following a
closed door meeting with the school
supervisor, principal, teachers, the stu-
dents' parents and other stakeholders, in
the wake of an incident last week in which
a teen female student was knocked uncon-
scious during a brawl.
Garcia said the four students involved
in the brawl, including the victim who
was knocked unconscious, had already
been suspended for seven days. However,
he said he instructed the principal to apply
for an extension of suspension, since what
the students did was too severe for a mere
A video of incident went viral on social
media and Garcia visited the school after
it was highlighted in the media last week.
Saying he as minister, alongside Min-
ister of State Dr Lovell Francis, had the
ultimate responsibility in deciding wheth-
er the students should be expelled, Gar-
cia said: "We are not going to tolerate this
type of behaviour in our school system,"
He emphasised that a school must be
a place where students learn and teach-
ers teach in a relatively safe environment
and when there are infractions to the
school rules, it is the ministry's respon-
sibility to take corrective action, which
could mean a prolonged absence from
school and perhaps expulsion. Asked
why the victim was also suspended and
had to apologise to the other girls
involved, Garcia said she was equally
culpable in the brawl, but said he could
not divulge more than this.
Garcia said the parents of all the student
were told they were all culpable and no
one could escape blame during the near
three-hour meeting yesterday. He said
there had been a breakdown of a number
of systems in the school, which must now
be sorted out.
He said if these systems had been in
place the incident would not have
But speaking afterwards, Radha
Ramsoomair, mother of 14-year-old old
beating victim, still questioned why the
action was being taken against her child.
Noting her daughter suffered head injuries
and had been a target of the other girls,
she said it was very unfair.
Ramsoomair said she has been visiting
the police station to lodge her complaint,
but has been given the run around by
officers each time and has unable to make
Also responding to a protest by stu-
dents of UWI's law school yesterday,
Garcia said that was the baby of the
university. (Trinidad Guardian)
Fracas at Mayaro Secondary
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