An ophthalmologist at the Emmanuel Eye Clinic and a member of the Ophthalmological Society of Ghana, Dr. Wendy Twum, has underscored the need for Ghanaians to be interested in knowing about glaucoma and its dangerous effects.
Speaking in an interview with Kwabena Agyapong on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, she said, statistical records available shows that 700,000 Ghanaians were living with glaucoma while over 60,000 were already blind from the eye condition.
Aside this figure, 8 of every 100 Ghanaians aged 30 years and above has the disease. And almost 9 out of every 100 Ghanaians aged 40 years and above, have glaucoma.
She said through awareness creation, people were becoming aware of glaucoma but stressed on the need for intensified efforts to help reduce the impact to the barest minimum.
Dr. Wendy Twum said, glaucoma was the condition when the ultra-ocular pressure (IOP) was raised over a period and cause damage to the optic nerve head with corresponding loss of visual function, adding that glaucoma gradually resulted in blindness, which is irreversible.
Glaucoma accounts for over 19% of all cases of blindness in the country and it was the most important cause of permanent blindness.
This, she said meant that, one in every five blind people in Ghana was as a result of glaucoma.
She disputed claims that an operation on the eye would damage the eye instead of repairing it.
The doctor said there was the need for Ghanaians to get screened for glaucoma to prevent total blindness.
Dr. Wendy Twum laughed off claims by some persons that the disease is also caused by witchcraft.
She said, diabetes might increase your risk of developing glaucoma, as do high blood pressure and heart disease.
Having a family history of glaucoma increases your risk of developing glaucoma she added.
In concluding she said, most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain from the increased pressure, so it is important to see your eye doctor regularly to diagnose and treat glaucoma before it leads to blindness.