As Lagos joins the rest of the world to mark the Y2020 “World Glaucoma Week” with an awareness walk, the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has advised citizens to present themselves for regular eye checks in order to prevent irreversible blindness that may result from glaucoma.
Abayomi gave the advice after an awareness walk to commemorate this year’s World Glaucoma Week and urged citizens to go for a regular eye check at designated government hospitals and accredited Specialist Eye Care Centres, noting that that early detection is key in the management of the eye condition.
He explained that World Glaucoma Week is a global celebration targeted towards creating awareness and sensitising the populace on the dangers of the eye condition which is referred to as the ‘silent killer of eyesight’.
Professor Abayomi stated further that the eye is a very delicate organ in the body that requires proper attention and care, adding that particular attention should be paid to Glaucoma as it is a slow chronic disease that can lead to permanent blindness without giving any signs or symptoms.
“Sight is such a precious gift to all human beings and it is something we should pay particular attention to. Glaucoma is one of those eye conditions that just creep against you. You may not even be aware it is happening to you. You may not present with any symptom but as it progresses, it damages the back of your eyes and this may eventually lead to irreversible blindness”, he said.
The Commissioner stated that the awareness walk is one of government’s ways of sensitising residents to dangers of the eye condition as well as encouraging regular eye check-ups.
He, therefore, urged all residents, especially those above the age of 40 years, to check the condition of their eyes regularly at least once in a year to ensure that their eyes are in good condition.
Abayomi stated that glaucoma screening and proper eye care can be accessed in any of the eight State-owned General Hospitals that have specialists in ophthalmology, namely General Hospital Lagos, Gbagada, Ikorodu, Epe, Badagry, Ajeromi, Orile-Agege and Alimosho, stressing that regular check and early presentation will go a long way in preserving vision and preventing irreversible blindness that glaucoma causes.
“So it is important that you are screened at any of our eight general hospitals that have specialists in ophthalmology. Glaucoma is an eye condition that comes up with advancing age just like hypertension and diabetes. It is also important you learn about Glaucoma, read and ask questions about it more, more importantly, as you pass the second and third decade of your life make sure you go to the hospital and consult your doctor at least once a year”, he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye explained that Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that can lead to gradual worsening of vision or blindness if left untreated.
“The visual damage caused by Glaucoma is mostly irreversible, and this has led to the eye condition being described as the “thief of sight”, so early detection is essential to limiting visual impairment and preventing the progression towards complete blindness”, he noted.
Ogboye listed family history, age and eye injury as factors that can predispose people to glaucoma, saying if one has a family history of glaucoma, the person may likely have it.