Dr Chris Galadima, a Cornea and Anterior Segment Specialist at the National Eye Centre, Kaduna, says persons above 35 years of age suffering from high eye pressure are more at risk of contacting glaucoma disease.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve.
It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye and the extra fluid causes abnormal high pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve, which is vital for good vision.
Galadima told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja in commemoration of the World Glaucoma Week, celebrated annually between March 8 and March 14, that common types of glaucoma are
associated with reduction in the outflow of aqueous fluid from the eye.
He explained that the reduction in the outflow of aqueous fluid from the eye lead to raised pressure within the eye, and would damage the optic nerve, resulting in blindness.
The surgeon said “this may happen unprovoked or be incited by injury to the eye or inflammation within the eye.
“Most people with glaucoma do not develop any symptom like pains or redness of the eye, while their vision progressively deteriorate.
“The loss of vision becomes noticeable to the affected person usually at a late stage.
“Persons with high eye pressure and those aged above 35 years are at risk. Persons of African descent and those who have a family history of glaucoma are also at risk of the disease.’’
Galadima said that many medications were used for the treatment of glaucoma; mostly eye pressure lowering medication, as well as many surgical procedures done to control glaucoma, based on assessment by an ophthalmologist after assessment of the person affected.
He explained that the significance of the World Glaucoma Week was to create awareness through eye screening events, public lectures, radio and TV shows and the print media for the patients and public.
“The week focuses the attention of the public on glaucoma; a disease that is the third leading cause of blindness globally and the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.’’
He stressed the need for strict compliance to medication and regular eye check-up at least once a year, while people with problems like diabetes and hypertension should ensure they visit an eye doctor at least twice a year.
He noted that the tests commonly performed for glaucoma include eye pressure measurement, optic nerve head assessment, visual field assessment, gonioscopy and optical coherence tomography.
He called on government to subsidise the cost of glaucoma drugs and treatment, as well as provide more support for care providers and patients.