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7.7m battles glaucoma – Ophthalmologist

By Kemi Olatunde

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About 7.7 million people in the world have been estimated to be battling either moderate or severe glaucoma which is the major cause of irreversible blindness, The Hope has gathered.                            

A senior consultant ophthalmologist with the University of Medical Science Akure, Dr Stella Adegbehingbe revealed this at the sensitisation programme of the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in commemoration of 2024 World Glaucoma day in Akure.

While calling for regular screening for glaucoma, she described it as a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerves of the human eye which according to her leads to vision loss and blindness.

She explained that the direct cause of nerve damage is not well understood, noting that glaucoma is usually associated with increased intraocular pressure and other risk factors such as age, race, family history, Diabetics Mellitus and hypertension.

Adegbehingbe who noted that many people are not familiar with the risk factor as the awareness of the disease is at the lowest, said that the prevalence is estimated to be on the increase which according to her, has been projected to affect 79.6 million people by the year 2026 globally.

She advised that people should get their sights checked if they need more light to read, when letters appear faded while reading, difficulty seeing objects at the side and when the vision is getting blurry, adding that there must be regular checkup for early diagnosis especially for people  with family history of glaucoma.

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The ophthalmologist said that there is no lasting treatment for glaucoma, stating that early diagnosis and treatment often control it.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health Dr. Niran Ikuomola stated that the event was primarily to create awareness for early detection and access to quality eye services through concerted efforts in education, screening and treatment.

Dr Ikuomola therefore urged individuals to take proactive steps towards preserving their vision and managing glaucoma effectively while also reaffirming the commitment of government in raising awareness about the sight- threatening condition.

He advocated for greater access to comprehensive eye care services for all individuals regardless of socio economic status.

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