The Chairman of the Nigerian Optometric Association, Dr. Onyebuchi Ndukwe, Cross River State Chapter, says that many Nigerians are losing their sight to the dreaded whiff of glaucoma, irreversibly due to ignorance.
This is revealed in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Calabar on Friday while commemorating the 2022 World Glaucoma Week, themed: ‘The World Is Bright, Save Your Sight’.
Glaucoma is an eye disorder that causes visual impairment as a result of its effect on the optical nerves that take pictures from the eye to the brain due to what is known as Intraocular Pressure.
Experts say it is estimated that around 2 million Nigerians have glaucoma, but the tragic fact is that, out of this number, about 1.8 million are oblivious of their condition.
“Globally, it is estimated that about 78 million people have glaucoma and this number is expected to rise to 101 million by 2030,” he asserts.
Highlighting the categories of susceptible people with high risks of glaucoma, Ndukwe says, “The categories are people who are above 40 years and from the black race; a family history of glaucoma; people with high myopia, diabetes, hypertension; and most importantly unprescribed use of steroids”.
“So, if you are below 40 years, at least once in two years, go for an eye check; for those above 40, the eyes should be checked at least once a year,” he adjures.
Dr. Ndukwe further says “those above 50 years should check their eyes twice in a year, this is the only way you can be sure that you have contracted glaucoma or not”.
The chairman advises Nigerians to go for regular eye checks whenever they notice any changes in vision, like blurriness, or begin to bump into objects while trying to move around.
“It is sad that we go for medical examinations and our blood pressure, sugar level and lipid profiles are checked but no time is taken to check the eyes.
The World Glaucoma Week is observed annually from March 6 to 12 with the goal of sensitizing the public on the need to have regular eye checks in order to detect glaucoma as early as possible.