The Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi Abuja, Prof Saad Ahmed, has advised Nigerians to go for regular eye checkups in order to protect themselves from glaucoma and other diseases that cause blindness.
He gave the advice in Abuja during a sensitization and free eye screening programme organised by the hospital to mark this year’s World Glaucoma Week.
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He said,“Glaucoma is one of the major causes of blindness. It also causes irreversible blindness. There is a need to create awareness about it because there is room for people to go for screening. So that those having issues with their eyes can get appropriate intervention before it leads to total blindness. People should go for eye checkups at least every year.”
He said glaucoma is taken seriously because most times it comes without symptoms, meanwhile mounting pressure on the eyes and causing blindness eventually.
Dr Eziechila Joseph, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon, and head of clinical services at the hospital, said glaucoma was the second most common cause of blindness worldwide.
He said it was very common among black descents -Africans and African-American, especially the silent type.
He said the disease presents as silent visual loss, and other ways such as bumping into objects (when it is advanced), and visual field defect, meaning the person cannot see on a side without furniture to that side.
He said that a lot of times it is discovered incidentally like when the eye is checked during a routine eye examination or when a patient is being treated for another eye condition.