Stanbic Bank and Community Uplift Ghana, a non-governmental organisation that provides free eye care for deprived communities, organised free eye screening for residents of Kotobabi, a suburb of Accra.
The initiative was to encourage frequent eye checks among residents in urban populations, who cannot afford access to quality eye care.
Many people, according to eye experts, needlessly go blind because their eye diseases are not detected in the early stages.
Many residents in Kotobabi are oblivious of this fact and the community does not have an eye centre that offers comprehensive examination and diagnosis of eye conditions.
Stanbic Bank donated GH₵ 10,000 to support the free eye screening exercise, while the employees donated GH₵ 5000, which the bank matched up with another GH₵ 5000.
In addition, about 20 employees volunteered to spend the day assisting the medical team to cater for the patients.
“Stanbic does not only want to make the people in Ghana feel our impact in terms of financial services and products; we also want to make the lives of the less privileged better,” said Nana Dwemoh Benneh, Head, Personal and Business Banking.
“We didn’t just donate and sit back; we wanted to actively participate in this outreach, engage more closely with the community and enrich lives.”
Uncorrected refractive errors, for instance, can lead to amblyopia which is popularly referred to as “lazy eyes”, and certain age-related eye conditions, which could have been detected at their harmless stages also escape remedy.
Diabetic patients could easily go blind if certain diabetic eye conditions are not detected early.
Diseases like glaucoma and cataract could cause irreversible damage if not detected early according to Dr Alfred Gardemor, one of the optometrists at the screening centre.
“The key in glaucoma management is early screening and early detection because you cannot see any symptom until it is too late,” he advised.
“The most prevalent conditions detected today are cataracts, allergies and refractive errors, all of which are avoidable causes of blindness that can be reversed if detected early.”
Many people with serious eye problems do not have access to eye care because of monetary constraints and this exposes them to eye diseases, which could be prevented upon early detection.
“We believe early screening is the best way to save a lot of people from losing their sight,” said Franklin Mensah, the founder of Community Uplift.
About 300 residents of Kotobabi benefitted from free eye consultation, medication and glasses during the outreach programme.
After the eye screening, the patients with severe eye conditions that require surgery were referred to nearby hospitals with ophthalmic theatre facilities. GNA