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Unapproved traditional eye treatment makes glaucoma worse

The Glaucoma Group of the Ophthalmological Society of Ghana has urged the public to use only approved methods and medications for treating glaucoma.

It said most traditional medicines paraded as remedies for glaucoma only damaged the eye or worsened the situation.

Speaking at the media launch of the World Glaucoma Week in Accra on Wednesday, Dr Charles Cofie, Chairman, Glaucoma Group of the Ophthalmological Society of Ghana said: ‘There is no traditional method for treating Glaucoma.’

He said eye pressure was a major risk factor for glaucoma and the only clinically proven treatment for glaucoma was to lower the eye pressure with medications and surgery, stating early detection combined with treatment could slow down or stop glaucoma progression.

The World Glaucoma Week (WGW) is a global initiative observed in the second week of March each year to raise awareness on glaucoma.

This year’s WGW is being observed under the theme ‘Uniting for a Glaucoma-Free World’.

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye condition
s that damage the optic nerve, often as a result of increased pressure within the eye.

This damage can lead to vision loss and, if left untreated, irreversible blindness.

Glaucoma is often asymptomatic in its early stages, earning it the nickname ‘the silent thief of sight.’

Regular eye exams are crucial for early detection and treatment.

In Ghana, Glaucoma is the number one cause of irreversible blindness and affects over 700, 000 people.

Globally, the number of people aged 40 to 80 years with Glaucoma is estimated to be 7,03 million in 2020 and projected to reach 111.8 million in 2040.

Dr Patric Kuma – Aboagye, Director General, Ghana Health Service (GHS), said the Ghana Health Service was expanding the wellness clinic concept to include awareness creation and screening for glaucoma.

‘By this, we implore both persons living with the disease and those not to go for regular checkups,’ he urged.

Dr Aboagye said the Service had deepened collaboration with eye health stakeholders in the private sector an
d with development partners to fund free eye screening in the medium to long term.

‘In the short term, however, I have directed all regional directors to undertake screening in all our facilities for clients and staff members during this week celebration,’ he said.

He advised persons 20 years and above to have an eye examination every two years till age 30 years after which an eye examination should be performed yearly.

‘For anyone who uses spectacles for distant vision, short-sighted or rapidly changing refraction, and for those with a family history of glaucoma, an eye exam should be conducted by an eye specialist once a year,’ he said.

Dr Harrison Abutiate, President, Glaucoma Patient Association of Ghana, said various research laboratories in the world were studying how to protect retinal ganglion cells that made up the optic nerve from attack and degeneration.

He said a new delivery system was also being studied by testing drug dispensing contact lens that may be easier to use than tablets and drops

Source: Ghana News Agency