The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) will be providing a much-needed service by offering free glaucoma screenings throughout this week.This initiative was organised in commemoration of World Glaucoma Week, which runs from March 11-17.Usually, patients would have to have the recommendation of a physician or optometrist in order to be eligible for screenings at the eye clinic. However, for this week, the GPHC has made the service more easily accessed.The screening services will run from March 12 to March 16 at the GPHC’s Eye Clinic. The screenings are mainly open to citizens who are 40 years and over. An exception to this, younger persons who have blood relatives who have been diagnosed with glaucoma. The eye clinic plans on screening some 40 persons each day and screenings are inclusive of vision tests, eye pressure tests and nerve examinations.The GPHC has noted that the reason behind this particular initiative was the fact that many persons were not aware that they may have glaucoma.Also termed ‘invisible glaucoma’, the disease can be actively deteriorating a person’s optic nerve without them knowing or experiencing symptoms. Affected patients only usually go for a check-up after their vision has been affected.On the other hand, the GPHC will also be hosting a Glaucoma Continuing Medical Education (CME) Session. The collaborative effort, with Medi Pharm Inc, will aim to further educate medical practitioners, predominantly optometrists and nurses, on glaucoma diagnosis and treatment methods.Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. This damage usually occurs when fluid builds up in the front section of the eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve. The most common type of glaucoma in Guyana is ‘open angle’. This type of glaucoma is painless and completely invisible to the patient. Patients will only become aware of the problem when their vision is affected. Open angle glaucoma predominantly affects Afro-Guyanese.