While there is presently no published information on the prevalence of paediatric glaucoma in Barbados, or the Caribbean for that matter, Chief Executive Officer of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Dr. Dexter James, says that area is about to be studied.
He told those attending a lecture on paediatric glaucoma in the QEH auditorium recently, that the Barbados Eye Studies Programme only examined adult open angle glaucoma, but the hospital treated children with the condition who were not only from Barbados but the Eastern Caribbean as well.
Dr. James said Barbados was fast earning an international reputation for excellence in the care of these patients, pointing out that the hospital’s glaucoma specialist, Dr. Dawn Grosvenor, had received praise from the Chief-of-staff at West Virginia University for her work on two paediatric patients from St. Lucia. He noted that the hospital was dedicated to the care and treatment of glaucoma patients and, as such, would be developing the Ophthalmology Department as a "centre of excellence" at the hospital.
He added that as a result of air quality problems, the Lion’s Caribbean Eye Care Centre has been closed since 2009, which resulted in the occupants having to vacate the building. However, he said they were in the process of rectifying those issues.
The hospital CEO explained that the refurbishment of the building had started with Phase One works focusing on the replacement of the air conditioning system. The contract for BDS $5.5 million has been awarded to IAQ Solutions, he disclosed, adding that the scope of works included the redesign of existing air conditioning systems and installing new ones; and the removal and discarding of existing equipment currently on the roof.
"We anticipate that the works for this phase should be completed by the end of August this year. When the full refurbishment project of the Lions Caribbean Eye Care Centre has been completed, it will help to bring waiting times to an acceptable level in the Ophthalmology Department," Dr. James pointed out.
When completed, the new Lions Caribbean Eye Care Centre will also be outfitted to conduct and manage all areas of eye disease including medical and surgical management.
The high risk categories for glaucoma include persons 40 years and over of African descent, anyone over age 50, and those with a family history of glaucoma.
Although glaucoma is typically regarded as a disease of old age, childhood glaucoma is a rare and an often overlooked type of glaucoma.?? As a public health care provider, the CEO said the QEH was establishing centres of excellence in certain specialist areas of care, ophthalmology being one of those areas.??