By George Onah
Hundreds of Rivers State residents areÂ suffering from glaucoma, a silent blinding disease which has been traced to racial, ancestry, family history, high myopia and age.
Speaking to Sunday Vanguard in Port Harcourt, weekend, consultant ophthalmologist in University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Dr. Adebayo Adio, said â€œsome form may occur at birth and is called congenital glaucoma or during infancy and childhood.â€
Adio, who was spreading awareness of the disease in the state, said â€œmajority are primary, that is no known causeâ€, explaining that before now it was believed that high pressure in the eye was the cause of damage.
But now it is established that people without an abnormally high intraocular pressure may suffer from glaucoma.
The consultant said â€œThere is no cure for glaucoma as yet and vision loss is irreversible. However, medication or surgery can halt or at least slow down any further vision loss. Therefore early detection is essential to limiting visual impairment and preventing the progression towards severe visual handicap or blindnessâ€.
Similarly, chairman of UPTH Glaucoma Association,. Mr. Samson Akinwale, wants the state government to â€œmake drugs for glaucoma available to patients free of charge because the drugs are expensiveâ€ but that blindness would be more expensive.