An optometrist and lecturer at the University for Development Studies (UDS) Medical School, Dr. Issah Imoro, has encouraged Ghanaians to check any glaucoma effects on the eye and go for early treatment to save their sight.
March is Glaucoma Awareness Month all over the world, and this week (6-12 March) has been dedicated by the international eye health community to increase awareness on glaucoma, under the theme “The World is Bright, Save your Sight from Blindness due to Glaucoma”.
To this end, Dr. Imoro has reminded friends, families and the general public about what Glaucoma is, and what they need to do to protect their sight.
Dr. Imoro further disclosed that the disease accounts for over 19 per cent of all cases of blindness in the country, indicating that it is the most important cause of permanent blindness in Ghana.
He explained that the disease is caused by damage to the nerves, which connect the brain to the eye, pointing out that this damage is caused by pressure on the nerve which results in the human vision gradually fading away.
“Glaucoma is basically described as a group of eye diseases which result in damage to the optic nerve (the nerve that transmits visual information from the retina to the brain) resulting in vision loss, if not well managed,” Dr. Imoro said in news release.
Concerned and management
Touching on why one needs to be concerned about glaucoma, Dr. Imoro stated that vision loss due to Glaucoma is irreversible, stressing that one cannot regain sight that has been lost due to the disease.
According to the optometrist, Glaucoma mostly does not present with any symptoms that will make you seek for medical attention early.
“Glaucoma is a disease that has no symptoms at the early stages and when the symptoms start showing, that is the moment nothing can be done about it. This is the reason why people need to go for regular eye screening to make sure even if they get infected, they could be detected at the early stage and treated. You only realise it when the damage is done to your vision. Hence it is sometimes referred to as the “silent thief of sight”,” he noted.
He added that Ghana has the largest prevalence of Glaucoma in Africa and second in the whole world, saying a majority of people in Ghana are at high risk of having glaucoma.
“Ghana was one of the highest ranking countries in the world affected with glaucoma and over 700,000 Ghanaians were living with the disease,” he pointed out.
Dr. Imoro emphasised that the key to Glaucoma management and prevention is early detection.
“It is important for you to book an eye examination as early as possible. Glaucoma can be transmitted through family lines, so encourage your family to have their eyes examined if you have been diagnosed of Glaucoma,” he said.
He further advised that more attention needs to be given to the disease to help its eradication.