Slightly over two per cent of Ghana’s population, estimated at 600,000 have Glaucoma and out of which 250,000 are either not aware or undiagnosed while at least 50,000 are already blind from the disease.
Glaucoma can best be detected through screening, however once damage occurs it cannot be reversed, a statement signed by Mr Harrison Abutiate, President, Glaucoma Association of Ghana said on Monday.
The statement said it was for that reason the Glaucoma Association of Ghana, (GAG) in collaboration with other eye care institutions and organisations like the Ophthalmological Society of Ghana, Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Ophthalmic Nurses Group, Optometrists Association of Ghana, Yvonne Nelson Glaucoma Foundation, Rotary and Lions Clubs of Ghana are supporting the 2012 World Glaucoma Week celebration, on the theme: “Don’t let Glaucoma darken your life.”
This year, the World Glaucoma celebration would be a week-long celebration instead of a day’s celebration and would be held from March 11 to March 17.
The first World Glaucoma Day was held on March 6, 2008 and in 2010 the celebration was extended to a week- long campaign.
The aim of week is to increase public awareness of Glaucoma as the leading cause of irreversible preventable visual disability or blindness, to encourage screenings, patient education and advocacy.
This year the week will proceed with a press launch on Thursday, March 8, followed by free public eye screening at the EL-WAK Stadium on Saturday, March 10, 2012 from 0900 hours to 1400 hours.
There would be a public forum on the theme on Friday, March 16, at the British Council Auditorium from 1630 hours to 1930 hours where there would be another free screening.
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve, which carries the image to the brain vision, is slowly destroyed.
In most people, the damage is due to increased pressure inside the eye as a result of blockage of the circulation of aqueous fluid, or its drainage.
In other patients, the damage may be caused by poor blood supply to vital optic nerve fibres, a weakness in the structure of the nerve and/or a problem of the nerve fibres.
Chronic open angle glaucoma is the commonest type of glaucoma and it has no symptoms until eye sight is lost at later stage.
Damage progresses very slowly and destroys vision gradually starting with the sides, one eye covers for the other, and the person remains unaware of any problem until majority of nerves fibres have been damaged and large part of vision has been destroyed.
“The damage is irreversible. It is progressive and usually relentless. Treatment cannot recover what has been lost, but it can be arrested or at least slow down the damage process.
That is why it is so important to detect the problem as early as possible, to be able to start treatment with as little damage to the vision as possible,” the statement said.
It said some people are more at risk of developing glaucoma than others and include people with family history, diabetes, migraine, short sightedness, (myopia) long sightedness (hyperopia), eye injuries, blood pressure and past or present use of steroids. GNA