KATH calls for awareness on glaucoma

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The free eye screening formed part of the glaucoma awareness week being celebrated by the KATH Eye Unit.

Under the programme, which was supported by the management and board of Nwabiagya Rural Bank, the unit visited public schools to undertake free eye screening for pupils and teachers.

They also visited  a number of  radio stations where they educated the public on the nature of the disease, its symptoms and effects on the society.

In her interaction with the media during the free eye screening, Dr Frimpong said studies had shown that about 700,000 Ghanaians were currently suffering from glaucoma, but only about 350,000 were aware of their predicament and were therefore regularly seeking medical care to delay their progression of becoming permanently blind.

“The  disease first attacks the optic nerve which gives sight to individuals and  spreads to other parts , so without early detection and management it completely destroys the sight to cause blindness” She explained

 “If anyone goes blind as a result of glaucoma, it is the end because no treatment could reverse their sight, and the cost of taking care of such people is huge” she noted.

Expressing concern about the danger of glaucoma , Dr Frimpong said it was due to the trauma associated with blindness through glaucoma that it had become necessary for the media to join hands with the KATH Eye Unit to create the awareness for the public to appreciate the essence of checking their status at least twice a year.

“With such awareness, we are certain that the public would undertake periodic eye screening  for us to determine those infected with the disease and start early treatment”

She noted that early detection and treatment could reverse the progression of victims going blind.

According to Dr Frimpong, the real causes of glaucoma had eluded them but hinted that families with a history of the diseases were likely to pass it on to their descendants.

She said the aged, especially those above 40 years, the black race, trauma and people who were short-sighted, among others, had a high risk having the disease and therefore advised the public to undertake regular medical screening.

Story by George Ernest Asare