A single CD released to raise funds for the International Glaucoma Association
When I'm not sticking knives and forks in people's eyes, I still love to sing. About a year ago, I recorded a few of my songs, with a view to raising funds for a good cause and doing something meaningful and worthwhile with my music. The IGA (International Glaucoma Association) seemed the ideal charity - luckily, they were enthused by the idea and so my album 'Through My Eyes' was conceived. Hopefully through all our efforts we will raise a significant amount of money for this excellent organisation dedicated to eradicating blindness from glaucoma. Jay Menon
Mr Jay Menon - Consultant Eye Surgeon - was raised during the seventies in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. As a teenager he showed great musical promise resulting in the offer of a recording contract from EMI when he was fourteen years of age. His parents however, somewhat alarmed by this prospect promptly sent him far away from such distractions to their homeland of Kerala in Southern India in 1980 to complete his studies.
The story goes that his mother having seen Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull performing on TV - and to her horror recognising the song from being played on the stereo in her son’s bedroom!!! - decided there and then, that her son was not going to take any part in any such musical shenanigans.
After completing the formative part of his education whilst at the same time maintaining a keen interest in music Jay returned from India in 1996 to sit his fellowship exams for the Royal College of Surgeons. Having passed, he explained to his bewildered professor that he intended to give up ophthalmology and return to music. His youthful assumption was that this would be okay; after all he had satisfied his parent’s wishes by obtaining a Royal College Fellowship.
He immediately sought membership of The Musicians’ Union and also Equity only to find out a week later that his applications to both parties had been refused. Having been away from the UK for seventeen years his right of abode in the country had lapsed.
Dejected, Jay turned back to ophthalmology, returned to his professor and asked him for a reference. He then continued to train, qualified as an eye surgeon and was appointed to a consultant post at the Royal Glamorgan and Prince Charles Hospitals in South Wales; the same area where he grew up. He also serves as the Programme Director for the All Wales Postgraduate Ophthalmology Training Rotation.
Pic: Jay Menon
Today Jay specialises in the medical and surgical management of glaucoma. The condition affects two per cent of people aged over forty and we are only aware of about half of the people with this eye condition, the other half remain undiagnosed!
Jay says, “After many years of working in the medical profession I felt very strongly that I wanted to do something positive and worthwhile with my music. The day job as an ophthalmologist rewards me well and gives me a decent wage – and it was time to put something back...
When I'm not sticking knives and forks in people's eyes, I still love to sing. About a year ago, I recorded a few of my songs, with a view to raising funds for a good cause and doing something meaningful and worthwhile with my music. The IGA (International Glaucoma Association) seemed the ideal charity - luckily, they were enthused by the idea and so my album 'Through My Eyes' was conceived. Hopefully through all our efforts we will raise a significant amount of money for this excellent organisation dedicated to eradicating blindness from glaucoma.
I would very much like to raise awareness about Glaucoma and its implications. This is a condition that left untreated can cause irreversible damage to vision, resulting in blindness – this can often be prevented with early and appropriate treatment.
All the funds raised from sales of my CD will go to a professorial fund at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital and will be used to fund research into the pathology and management of Glaucoma.”
The IGA is a patient-based organisation which works to prevent glaucoma blindness by providing information, literature and advice. We provide support to thousands of glaucoma sufferers.
We are a UK based non-governmental organisation, a charity registered in England & Wales.
We are committed to preventing unnecessary loss of sight through the condition, which is one of the most common eye disorders.
We arrange meetings in the UK open to all twice a year and provide a regular newsletter to our members and friends as well as overseeing a network of support groups and fund research into the causes and treatment of glaucoma and disseminate the results to appropriate audiences
Glaucoma of some type is found in about two per cent of the population over the age of forty. It can also affect children and young adults, although much less frequently. It is estimated that more than half a million people suffer from glaucoma in England and Wales alone, with more than seventy million people affected across the world. The great majority of those with glaucoma have a chronic (slowly developing) form of the condition, primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), and studies have demonstrated that half of all cases remain undiagnosed. People of African-Caribbean origin have about four times the risk of POAG as whites.
Close blood relatives of patients with POAG have at least a four-fold increased risk of glaucoma compared with those without a family history of glaucoma. People from families in which a member has glaucoma should be tested for glaucoma from the age of thirty five onwards. People with other glaucoma risk factors in addition to the family history (e.g. being of African-Caribbean origin or having diabetes) should be tested from an even earlier age.
The treatment of glaucoma has developed considerably over recent years and new, more potent drugs with fewer side effects than earlier medications are now available. Surgical techniques have also improved and it is estimated that around ninety five per cent of those diagnosed early with glaucoma in the UK will retain useful sight for life.
POAG usually affects both eyes, but initially produces few symptoms. Eventually, if untreated, sufferers may become aware of a severe restriction of their field of vision or even loss of central vision in the worse eye. Although blindness from glaucoma is uncommon, it is responsible wholly or in part for thirteen per cent of those on the blind register in England and Wales and is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the UK.
A significant risk factor for glaucoma blindness is advanced loss of vision when the condition is first detected. Appropriate examinations during a routine eye test are, therefore, essential to detect glaucoma early and prevent significant sight loss.
Pat Tynan Media