The Ghana Optometric Association (GOA) has revealed that there is a sophisticated communication link between the eye and the rest of the body through the blood, blood vessels, and nerve connections.
Dr Kwame Oben-Nyarko, GOA Public Relations Officer who made the revelation, explained that the eyes could reflect illness that begins in another tissue far away from the eyes.
“The eye serves as a diagnostic tool used in telling if one has another health condition. Problems spotted in the eye are often the first signs of diseases lurking somewhere.
“When ophthalmologists spot something unusual during your examination, they may refer you back to your primary care physician or to a specialist for further examination and testing,” Dr Oben-Nyarko told the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office and Ghana Optometric Association “GNA-GOA My Eyes! My Vision! campaign platform in Tema.
The fortnight initiative is a collaborative public education advocacy campaign to promote the need for people to access eye care and to draw attention to vision health.
The GNA-GOA: My Eyes! My Vision! initiative also seeks to challenge the public and policymakers to focus on vision as a health issue, which forms a critical component of mankind’s well-being but is often neglected.
Dr Oben-Nyarko, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Third Eye and Vision Center, stressed that an optometrist through an eye examination, could detect, monitor, and even predict many systematic diseases unknown to the person.
“Most people may not know they have these problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, and cancers among other illnesses, but through the eye examination an optometrist can detect it,” he said.
Dr Oben-Nyarko, quoting the American Academy of Ophthalmology stressed the need for all adults to undertake a baseline eye examination from an optometrist by age 40, when early signs of disease and vision changes may start to occur.
“If you have an eye disease or a risk factor for developing one, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of eye disease, you should see an optometrist even if you are younger than 40,” he stated.
Dr Oben-Nyarko also recommended that adults aged 65 and above, should have a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years, or as recommended by qualified eye specialists.
“An eye exam is a relatively simple and comfortable procedure, and shouldn’t take more than 45 to 90 minutes,” he said.
The optometrist emphasized that “our eyes do wondrous things, and through a complex system, the eye takes in information and has a direct connection with the brain allowing one to visually process the world around them.”
Mr Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager emphasised the need for good healthcare communication to ensure that both patients and healthcare providers interact to understand each other.