One out of seven people screened at IMaH are glaucoma suspects – Optometrist


One out of every seven people screened for eye-related issues at the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) are glaucoma suspects, Dr Isaac Asirifi, the Resident Optometrist has disclosed.

He said having one out of seven people having traces of glaucoma was a worrying thing, “we need to work together to reduce the incidents of Glaucoma in the country”.

Dr. Asirifi stated at the weekly “Your Health! Our Concern! A Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office initiative aimed at promoting communication on health-related and setting the medium for the propagation of health information to influence personal health choices and improving health literacy.

“Your Health! Our Concern! is a public health advocacy platform initiated by the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office to explore the parameters of the four approaches to health communication: informative, educating, persuasive, and prompting.

Speaking on the topic: “the world is bright, save your sight,” which is the global theme for the 2023 World Glaucoma Week celebration, the IMaH Optometrist disclosed that global statistics indicate that by the year 2040, a total of 118 million people in the world would be glaucoma infected.

He noted that about 232,000 people in Ghana were blind, out of which 45,000 were attributed to glaucoma.

Dr Asirifi explained that due to the asymptomatic nature of glaucoma, patients do not have symptoms until it was too late and, therefore, was called the ‘silent thief of sight’ and being number two cause of blindness after cataracts in Ghana.

The IMaH Optometrist, therefore, advised the public to undertake regular eye-check at the eye clinics, especially glaucoma to be picked up for proper management instead of relying on self-medication and pharmacies to help issues of the eyes.

He stressed that the pharmacy should not be the first point of call for eye problems explaining that the eye was one of the most sensitive and important organs of the body which needs to be examined before any form of medication is put on it.

He cited for instance that even though neo-hycolex is often sold to the public at the pharmacy for common eye problems, it contained steroids and, therefore, is not safe to be used without a prescription from a professional medical practitioner.

Mentioning some risk factors of glaucoma, Dr Asirifi said even though glaucoma could affect everyone irrespective of age, people above 40 years were at a higher risk as aging welcomes a lot of health conditions of which glaucoma was part.

Dr Asirifi said other risk factors included short-sightedness, family history, race (Africans and Black Americans), and people with high pressure, among others.

Mr Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager urged persons suffering from any eye condition to properly apply prescribed eye drops to avoid having medical complications from wrongful usage.

He explained that “failure to learn how to correctly apply eye drops could have both medical and financial implications,” stressing it would not only defeat the purpose of having received the eye drops but could also increase the amount of money spent on purchasing eye medications.

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