Glaucoma Week Takes Off

This year’s World Glaucoma Week celebration has been launched, with a call on family members whose relatives suffer from glaucoma to screen for the disease.

The celebration, themed ‘Beat Invisible Glaucoma [B-I-G] – Screen First Degree Relatives [FDRs]’, will draw attention to relatives of people suffering from glaucoma, since the health condition is genetic and can be transferred to them.

Harrison Kofi Abutiate, National President of Glaucoma Association of Ghana, outlining the activities for the week, stated that the association would organise a free eye screening for Makola market women on Saturday, March 18, 2017.

He also added that a date would be fixed for the screening of members of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and farmers.

Mr Abutiate mentioned that “by 2020, over 76million people between the ages of 40 and 80 years will be living with glaucoma and about seven million will be blind from the type of glaucoma called primary open angle glaucoma which happens to be the common type in Ghana.”

Dr Boateng Wiafe, Director, Operation Eyesight Universal & Ophthalmological Society of Ghana Glaucoma Group, highlighted that glaucoma is a condition that affects the optic nerves, leading to vision loss and ultimately blindness.

“Early detection and treatment can help prevent total vision loss. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, but it can be controlled and the only to tell if a patient has glaucoma is through screening,” he disclosed.

He added that the condition has no symptoms at all, no tears, no redness of the eyes, no itching, indicating that those at risk of having it are people over 40 years of age, babies born to parents that have it (hereditary), people with abnormal optic nerve, steroid abusers, diabetes patients, short-sighted people and individuals with family history of glaucoma.

Dr Wiafe explained that early detection, using medication like eye drops or drugs, conventional surgery, laser and sometimes all of them are used in managing glaucoma, but said they only reduce pressure on the nerve but it doesn’t restore sight already lost.

 By Cleopatra Nonum