Glaucoma’s figures call for decisive action
Glaucoma’s figures call for decisive action

Glaucoma’s figures call for decisive action

Diseases are bad news, and when one has gained notoriety like the way glaucoma is prevalent in Ghana, it calls for a lot of concern. Glaucoma remains one of the primary causes of blindness in the country.


Official figures indicate that Ghana has one of the highest prevalence of glaucoma in Africa, second only to Nigeria with almost eight of every 100 Ghanaians aged 30 and above and nine of every 100 Ghanaians aged 40 and above having it.

Over 700,000 Ghanaians live with glaucoma, and 45,000 people are blind due to the disease, making it one of the leading causes of blindness in the country. 

These statistics underscore the urgent need to address the eye care needs of Ghana's growing population and highlight the urgency of the situation.

Sadly, a sizeable number of people across the world have glaucoma but are unaware they even have the condition, and these numbers are cause for concern, as glaucoma is a stealth disease that often presents no symptoms until it is too late.

To provide context, glaucoma is an eye disease that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging a nerve in the back of the eye called the optic nerve.

The symptoms can start so slowly that one may not notice them. The only way to find out if one has glaucoma is to get a comprehensive dilated eye examination

The most alarming aspect of glaucoma is its ability to strike without warning. Dubbed the "silent thief of sight," it can gradually steal peripheral vision, leaving patients unaware of the damage until it is advanced. By the time symptoms appear, the disease has often progressed to a point where treatment is limited.

The condition in recent times has become a cause of concern as its economic and emotional toll on patients and their loved ones cannot be overstated. Losing one's vision can lead to depression, anxiety and a diminished quality of life.

To ensure that people keep their vision in a healthy state, the Daily Graphic would like to call for more awareness creation of the condition. Since a lot of people are unaware of how the disease presents itself, it will be prudent for regular free eye screening to be conducted periodically at public places such as lorry stations and markets to detect it in its earlier stages, when treatment is most effective. This is especially important for those at higher risk. 

Additionally, research into new treatments and therapies offers hope for improving outcomes and slowing disease progression, and the paper will therefore call for more research to be undertaken to find treatment and most especially cure for the condition.

The Daily Graphic believes that statistics surrounding glaucoma are indeed worrying, but they also serve as a call to action. 

As Ghanaians, by prioritising awareness, research and access to care, we can work towards a future where this silent thief of sight is no longer a threat to millions. Let us join forces to combat glaucoma and protect the precious gift of sight for generations to come.

Let us heed the call by the National President of the Glaucoma Patient Association of Ghana, Harrison Kofi Abutiate, who is urging Ghanaians to prioritise regular eye check-ups and also advocating increased robust public education to create awareness and advocacy campaigns to promote the importance of accessing eye care.

Since glaucoma is genetically based it cannot be eliminated entirely but with increased awareness, early detection and intervention, blindness caused by the disease can be prevented.

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