Majority of Ghanaians are suffering from glaucoma without knowing it, Mrs Lydia Attoh, Principal Nursing Officer, Korle-Bu has said.
Available statistics show that currently 600,000 Ghanaians have glaucoma with about 30,000 already blind.
She said people had a negative culture of not going for medical check-ups and rather preferred self medication without the optician’s advice.
Mrs Attoh said this on Saturday at an eye screening organised by the First Premium Lion, a voluntary organisation and a member of the international Lion Club in Accra over the weekend.
Majority of the people screened were said to be affected with glaucoma and other diseases, which can cause blindness. Glaucoma can damage the eyes’ optic nerve and result in blindness.
Mrs Attoh said through early detection and with proper treatment, satisfactory sight could usually be preserved indefinitely.
The Principal Nursing Officer said the eye needed a certain amount of pressure to keep the eyeball in shape so that it could work properly.
“In some people, the damage is caused by raised pressure. Others may have an eye pressure within normal limits but damage occurs because there is a weakness in the optic nerve. In most cases both factors are involved but to a varying extent,” she added.
She said certain tissues within the eye such as the lens were nourished by a fluid called aqueous humour and that if the optic nerve came under too much pressure it could be injured.
Mrs Attoh stated that Glaucoma risk factors included family history of glaucoma, myopia, diabetes and high intraocular pressure.
She said cataract is one of the world’s leading causes of blindness that affects children as well as adults and its treatment was much more difficult in developing countries.
She said many people were needlessly blind from cataract because they don’t know that it could be cured or do not have the money to visit the hospital.
She advised people to refrain from robbing the eye, staying behind computer for a longer period as well as avoid treating the eye not recommended by a doctor.
Mrs Fredrica Odie Benefo, a nurse, debunked a notion that eating of gari causes blindness and advised that people should eat balanced diet.
She commended the Club for the exercise and promised to work with any organisation that wanted to partner with them to embark on a sensitization programme.
Lions Club embarks on programmes that help the vulnerable.
Lion Atawa Akyea, a past President of the Club, said they performed volunteer work for many different community projects – including caring for the environment, feeding the hungry and aiding the disabled.
Lion Akyea said the Club was putting up an eye clinic at Korle-Bu to augment the work of other eye centres.
The exercise formed part of Lions social responsibility towards the development of the nation and also to help address the issue blindness.