As part of efforts to reduce blindness in Nigeria, Pfizer, in collaboration with ophthalmologists at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State, has arranged to screen 1,000 residents for glaucoma. The screening was part of the UPTH programme for the 2015 World Glaucoma Week.
Speaking at the screening exercise, Chairman, Bayelsa State Chapter, Ophthalmology Society of Nigeria, Dr. Atama Pepple, expressed concern that there had been a continuousunexplainable rise in the incidences of glaucoma in recent years. According to him, there are about 60 million people with various forms of glaucoma, while an estimated 8.4 million people are already blind as a result of the eye disease.
Again, he noted, “it is predicted that the number of cases will increase to 80 million by 2020.”
The Head of Department, Glaucoma Unit in UPTH, Dr. Elizabeth Awoseyuku, said late diagnosis of the eye disorder could lead to blindness or partial loss of sight.
She stated, “Glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness if diagnosed late or if left untreated. Glaucoma is not curable, and vision loss cannot be regained, though it can be prevented with early diagnosis. With medication or surgery, it is possible to halt further loss of vision. Prompt diagnosis is the first step to preserving your vision. Everyone is at risk of glaucoma from babies to the elderly. Though, older people are at a higher risk for glaucoma, babies can be born with glaucoma.