An ophthalmologist and Head of Eye Care Ghana says there is the need for Ghanaians to develop a culture of going for eye tests at least once in a year for early detection and prevention of glaucoma, a major cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.
Dr. Oscar Debrah told Ultimate Radio it is very essential especially among blacks and for persons above age thirty, considering that persons within this category are prone to contracting the disease.
Ghana leads in the global prevalence rate of glaucoma with over seven hundred thousand Ghanaians living with the disease. Of this number, sixty thousand are already permanently blind.
Dr. Debrah expressed worry that an estimated ninety percent of persons who live with the painless condition are unaware of the disease stating “it does not cause pain or any problem initially until the time you realize you can’t see and by the time you go to the hospital it will be too late.”
He explained that blindness resulting from glaucoma is medically irreversible and advice that the only way Ghana could stem the frightening glaucoma statistics was for Ghanaians to adopt a culture of regularly going for eye checkups.
“At least once every two years, you and I should go check our eyes because that is the only way we can pick the early stages of glaucoma because when you are blind from glaucoma nobody can do anything about it,” he admonished.
Dr. Debrah added that families who have had a record or history of a relative having glaucoma had to frequently conduct checks on the state of their eyes since their chances of also contracting the disease was high.
There are many forms of glaucoma but the severest type, which is very prevalent in Ghana, is the primary open angle glaucoma. This is characterized by optic nerve damage and poor blood supply to the nerve, resulting in visual loss and subsequently permanent blindness.