One-Week Free Eye Care at JFK

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Dr.-Slade: "Our mission is to help Liberians suffering from eye-diseases, specifically glaucoma." jpg

A visiting American ophthalmologist (eye doctor), Dr. Snow Slade, is on his fourth day of a one-week free eye care (August 28 to Sept. 3) at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center. Dr. Slade, in an interview with the Daily Observer, said he examined 20 individuals with various eye problems on the first day of the exercise on Monday, August 28, and scheduled 10 for surgery.

Dr. Slade is an adjunct professor in the department of the John Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah in the United States. He said one of the most common eye diseases in the world is glaucoma, which damages the eye’s optic nerve.

According to a report by J. Kevin McKinney, M.D. on the website www.aao.org/eye-health, glaucoma usually happens when extra fluid builds up in the front part of the eye thereby increasing the pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve. McKinney wrote: “There are two major types of glaucoma: Primary open-angle glaucoma and Angle-closure glaucoma (also called “closed-angle glaucoma” or “narrow-angle glaucoma.”) Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type. It happens gradually; where the eye does not drain fluid as well as it should (like a clogged drain). As a result, eye pressure builds and starts to damage the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma is painless and causes no vision changes at first.

Dr. Slade examines one of the patients

“Some people can have optic nerves that are sensitive to normal eye pressure. This means their risk of getting glaucoma is higher than normal. Regular eye exams are important to find early signs of damage to their optic nerve.” Angle-closure glaucoma, he said, happens when someone’s iris is very close to the drainage angle in their eye. “The iris can end up blocking the drainage angle. You can think of it like a piece of paper sliding over a sink drain. When the drainage angle gets completely blocked, eye pressure rises very quickly. This is called an acute attack.”

Dr. Slade, who is a glaucoma specialist, is in the country on a charity mission through the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. He said the mission has a number of worldwide medical charities. “We are in many countries including Mexico, Japan, Canada, USA, India, and the Ivory Coast; and now in Liberia,” he said. He said he is expected to cater to many Liberians with eye diseases. The exercise, he said, is free. “We are happy about this because our mission is to serve them with no cost attached,” Dr. Slade added.

He commended the Liberian government and it citizens for being appreciative of his services and hoped for future visits. Earlier, the head of the eye clinic, Dr. Edward Gizzie, the only trained eye-specialist in the country, said Liberia now has state-of-the-art eye care equipment that can take care of her citizens.

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