Dr Michael Gyasi, President of Ophthalmological Society of Ghana (OSG) has said that, over 700,000 Ghanaians have Glaucoma.
“Almost 8 of every 100 Ghanaians aged 30 years and above have the disease. And almost 9 of every 100 Ghanaians aged 40 years and above, have Glaucoma,” he said.
Dr Gyasi said this when he interacted with the media at a free Glaucoma screening exercise at the LEKMA Hospital organised by OSG in Accra to mark this year’s World Glaucoma Week from March 11 – March 16.
He said Glaucoma is a complex group of disease of the eye, which leads to irreversible blindness with no warning signs until the late stages of the disease.
Dr Gyasi explained that, Glaucoma accounted for over 19 per cent of all cases of blindness in the country and it was the most important cause of permanent blindness.
This, he said meant that, one in every five blind people in Ghana was as a result of Glaucoma.
He said the risk factors of the disease were; elevated intraocular pressure, black race, family history, increasing age, indiscriminate use of steroids, short-sightedness and long sightedness.
He said it was important for the media to initiate a national campaign to create awareness of the disease as the world celebrates Glaucoma week.
He said there was the need for Ghanaians to get screened for Glaucoma and more education should also be put in to highlight the importance of getting early disease detection and treatment.
Dr Dziffa Ofori-Adjei, Secretary of OSG said, the OSG were organising free Glaucoma screening and free public education, which begun at the LEKMA Hospital in Accra on Monday where over 300 hundred patients benefitted.
She said with only three per cent of Ghanaians being aware of the disease, the screening was to help safe sights of people at risk and also present the opportunity for Glaucoma experts to provide health talks and answer questions from the public.
Dr Aseya Aidom, Ophthalmologist at LEKMA Hospital said Glaucoma was covered under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and urged the public to visit the various hospital for their screening and treatment.
She said even though not all the drugs for the treatment of the disease was covered under the NHIS, patients must make effort to get screened and be treated for the disease by supporting themselves financially.