The President of the Glaucoma Association of Ghana (GAG), Mr Harrison Kofi Abutiate, has called on the government to provide the necessary support to the Association to enable it to hold free medical screening for farmers on every Farmers’ Day.
He said this will help the Association contribute meaningfully to national development by creating awareness on the dangers of the disease and ensure early detection and treatment.
Mr. Abutiate made the call when the Association held free medical screening in Accra on Saturday as part of the World Glaucoma Week Celebration.
He said a study conducted in 2010 showed that more than 700,000 Ghanaians were living with glaucoma, and that now that the population of Ghana had reached 30 million, 60,000 Ghanaians were already blind.
Mr. Abutiate said glaucoma exist when the intra-ocular pressure is raised over a period and causes damage to the optic nerve head with corresponding loss of visual function.
He said untreated glaucoma gradually results in blindness because of the irreversible damage it causes, adding that it was the number one cause of irreversible blindness in the world.
The President said Primary Open Angle Glaucoma appeared to be the most common and was due to poor drainage rather than overproduction of aqueous fluid.
‘These are areas that the drug act upon, he said, adding that reduced blood flow to the optic nerve could also lead to damage and loss of vision.
Mr. Abutiate said the GAG would soon launch a GHȼ100,000.00 fund to help set up a secretariat for more effective running of the GAG, purchase basic equipment and drugs for screening and treatment of patients.
He expressed the hope that the GAG would continue to educate the public on the disease, undertake research on the prevalence, and provide scientific data on the disease to decision makers to help arrive at better prevention and treatment measures.