Ghana has launched the 2023 World Glaucoma Week celebration with the theme: “Do you know your eye pressure, get a checkup today!”
The event is aimed at alerting the public on the need for regular eye checks to allow earlier detection and save sight.
The Minister for Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, on Wednesday in Accra said Glaucoma was the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world.
He stated that as the world population increases, glaucoma has become more common, one in 200 people aged 40 has the disease and the number rises to one in 8 at age 80.
He disclosed that currently it was estimated that 78 million people are diagnosed with glaucoma on a global level.
“This number is forecast to skyrocket to 111 million by the year 2040,” he added.
He noted that Ghana was among the world glaucoma patient league leaders with estimated 700,000 patients living with glaucoma and over 60,000 already blind from the condition.
He indicated glaucoma usually shows no notice until it was advanced and the damage it causes to vision was unending with increasing intra ocular pressure (IOP) which becomes irreversible.
Mr Agyeman Manu added that the earlier the diagnosis, the more vision there was to save and the less likely the person to become blind.
“The government will ensure that affordable eye medicines will be made available to control the condition which is discovered only through screening,” he added.
On her part, the President of the Ophthalmological Society, Ghana (OSG), Dr Bella Dzifa Ofori Adjei, said glaucoma was a treatable disease and appropriate interventions were required to delay blindness.
According to her, these interventions include medical or surgical treatment.
She said “I will like to use this opportunity to join my predecessors to ask for more glaucoma drugs to be included on the National Health Insurance Medicines List. In this case, there will be more effective drugs to help these patients many of whom are at the threshold of going blind.”
She pledged the Society’s commitment to fighting glaucoma in Ghana.
Priscilla Nimako, ISD
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