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Prevention is better than cure

Prevention is better than cure


At the risk of potentially driving himself out of business, Dr. Kenneth Onu is on a campaign to educate the public on ways of preventing eye diseases, as opposed to seeking treatment for them. Along with his wife Dr. Francesca Onu, he delivered an in-depth presentation on ways to keep eyes healthy and disease-free, at the Peace Memorial Hall last Friday.{{more}}

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 90% of the world’s visually impaired are from poor countries. Seventy-five per cent of these eye problems are preventable and treatable. Two of the leading causes of visual impairment in SVG are cataracts and glaucoma.

Onu believes that if people follow simple guidelines, it will greatly reduce the incidence of blindness and eye disease. “We can stop a lot of diseases in their tracks or slow down their progression…” He recommends that in order to maintain healthy eyes, we should eat more fruit and vegetables, have regular eye exams, protect our eyes from the sun (harmful UV rays), exercise regularly, avoid rubbing/touching eyes with unclean hands, use computers cautiously, quit smoking, manage chronic diseases e.g. diabetes, use eye protection when playing sports or gardening and learn more about prescribed medications as some may cause problems (such as glaucoma) with long-term usage e.g. prednisone. Furthermore, Onu is of the opinion that 90% of all disease is in the mind, whereas 10% is real disease. “If you think healthy thoughts, most likely your life will also prove to be healthy”, he affirmed. He explained that doctors often successfully prescribe placebos to their patients because disease is often a case of mind over matter.

Having qualified as an Ophthalmologist in 1988, Onu arrived in St. Vincent with his family in 1992 and opened his own private clinic. He now runs the Beachmont Eye Institute (BEI), which offers clinical, surgical, optical, laboratorial and training services. Onu is of the opinion that the majority of the population in SVG has difficulty in obtaining and affording first class medical and surgical eye care. As a result of this, BEI now provides a combination of 6 bundled plans that enable patients to afford treatment. There is even a plan designed for students that “…costs less than a pair of sneakers”.

The audience was pleasantly surprised by the presentation of gift certificates (for use at BEI) to the first five persons to arrive at the event, and a draw for the Premium Vision Plan. Even more surprising was a question posed to Dr Onu, by an audience member, on whether masturbation is detrimental to a man’s vision. Keeping a remarkably straight face in spite of raucous laughter from the audience, Onu dismissed this as being a myth. He further remarked that had this been true “…a lot of boys would now be blind”. (JSV)