The Central Regional Health Directorate has expressed concern about the rising cases of eye diseases in the region.
According to statistics covering the first half of the year from the directorate, over 5,000 people are living with cataract, with more than 2,500 others having glaucoma, while over 6,000 people are also suffering from refractive errors in the region.
The Central Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Akosua Sarpong, disclosed this at the commemoration of this year’s World Sight Day in Cape Coast, on the theme: “Love your eyes”.
The day is commemorated on the second Thursday of October every year to focus attention on vision impairment and blindness to influence decisions of governments, policy makers and other stakeholders.
Dr. Sarpong said prioritising eye care would help identify potential diseases on time for effective treatment to prevent partial or total loss of vision.
The Central Region President of the Ghana Federation Union of Disability, Mr. George Frimpong, appealed to the government to make funds available for the screening and diagnosis of children to identify and manage eye problems at the early stage.
“Most often, after children have been diagnosed or screened, they hardly get the needed support to go through the other processes of treatment,” he said.
Mr. Frimpong also called for sensitisation to Rhesus compatibility - a situation where a woman and her unborn baby carry different Rhesus (Rh) protein factors, adding that “education on the RH compatability is key because it has proven to be some of the sources of both genetic and adventitious eye problems”.
The Head of Optometry at the University of Cape Coast, Professor Alex Ilechie, said it was time organisations and the public assisted health institutions to raise awareness of eye diseases.
“It is a crusade that involves all of us and not just the health ministry or the government. We have to refocus our collective efforts to improve the management of eye care programmes and related issues,” he said.