It is unreasonable for NIS to require that senior citizens get prescriptions every three monthsfrom an ophthalmologist for glaucoma

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter to bring to the attention of the board of the NIS and the pharmacist that  March 17, on NCN there was a programme of ‘Your Health, The Nation’s Wealth.’ It dealt with glaucoma, and two of our ophthalmologists were interviewed. The point I want to emphasize is that both of them said glaucoma if not treated makes you go blind. Dr Quaicoe further stated that if you are diagnosed with glaucoma, you have to use eye drops for the rest of your life.

Recently, the NIS issued a notice to the effect that in order for them to supply eye drops you have to get a prescription from an ophthalmologist every three months. I would like to know why every three months. Why can’t an optometrist issue a letter or prescription stating you have to use these drops for the balance of your life?

I am a senior citizen and it is difficult for me to get an ophthalmologist to give me a prescription every three months. Apart from having to pay transportation to Georgetown, I tried all three of the ophthalmologists in Georgetown − Dr Jain at Dr Balwant Singh’s hospital was not seeing new patients, he was leaving the country. I paid another taxi fare to Dr Quaicoe, only to be told he was operating. I would have to come another day after 11am. I was further told he does not have a machine to test the pressure, I would have to go to Modern Optical or Dr Karen Persram to get the pressure tested. I then paid another taxi fare to Dr Norton only to be told he was at Parliament and to come back next week. It is very difficult to get an opthamologist. They are busy doing operations for cataracts etc. Apart from all the expense of taxi fares and then the fee for the ophthalmologist, this is very costly and exhausting for senior citizens.

It would cost on the average every month $5,000. With a pension of $14,000 from NIS plus $6,000 from the Old Age pension per month, it seems lots of people will be getting blind very soon. What an awful situation.

I am therefore appealing to the NIS to reconsider having to get a prescription every three months from an ophthalmologist.

Yours faithfully,
(Name and address provided)

Editor’s note

We are sending a copy of this letter to the PRO of NIS, Ms Dianne Lewis-Baxter, for any comments she might wish to make.

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