GOA calls for review of glaucoma eye care policy

ByMartha R. Camara

Mar 12, 2022

The Ghana Optometry Association (GOA) has called for a review of the eye care policy for glaucoma to reduce its high prevalence in the country.

The Argentinian government noted that the Ministry of Health must take the lead in ensuring that the necessary glaucoma management policy is in place to encourage all professionals involved in the management process to work to change the narrative. .

Dr Alfred Gardemor, GOA Public Relations Manager, speaking at the conference “GNA-GOA My Eye! The My Vision Platform” to mark Glaucoma Week said current data puts Ghana second worldwide in terms of prevalence and the country with the highest prevalence in Africa.

Dr Gardemor, Senior Optometrist at Nsawam Government Hospital, added that cases of glaucoma needed special attention in Ghana as it was the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world.

He said that “the total number of blind people in Ghana is currently estimated at around 232,500, of whom 45,000 suffer from glaucoma”, pointing out that around half a million people aged 40 and over were living with glaucoma. in Ghana.

He said the collaborative approach to the management process must cover rehabilitation care, training and distribution of more ophthalmologists, optometrists and ophthalmic nurses to help fight blindness. due to glaucoma.

He said optometrists need to be easily employed by the government so they can care for more patients and manage more glaucoma patients who he says could access their care because of National Insurance benefits. disease (NHIS).

Dr Gardemor also called for the training of more eye care professionals explaining that currently, even though Ghana has the highest prevalence of glaucoma in Africa, it could boast of just over 100 ophthalmologists, 300 optometrists a number of ophthalmic nurses with a greater number of them being in the private sector.

“Doctors of optometry are trained in glaucoma care but are found primarily in the private sector where they provide both optical and medical care, including glaucoma management,” he said.

Dr Gardemor, mentioning the risk factors for glaucoma, said everyone was at risk, however adding that those most at risk were people with a family history of blindness, African race, people aged 40 years and older.

He added that people with medical conditions such as diabetes and/or hypertension, as well as people with abnormally high eye pressures (intraocular pressures) were all at higher risk of getting glaucoma.

Glaucoma, he said, was a common eye disease that was a leading cause of irreversible blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated, as it damaged the optic nerve essential for good vision due to abnormally high eye pressures.

Dr. Gardemor said that while there are several types of glaucoma, the two main areas of concern are angle-closure glaucoma (a medical emergency that includes severe pain, nausea and sudden reduction in vision) and open-angle glaucoma which was the most common. .

He said the open-angle type also has minimal or almost no symptoms, although it results in slow vision loss glaucoma that deserves its name, the ‘silent stealer of sight.

The GOA PRO said the disease could only be detected by a test performed by an ophthalmologist, so regular check-ups were needed for early detection and treatment.

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