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SPECIAL REPORT: One in 20 Nigerians Above 40 at Risk of Glaucoma-induced Blindness

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The eye/â“’Freepik

Mallama Aisha Muhammad is currently battling to save her two children from blindness after the duo was diagnosed with glaucoma.

In a chat with Nigeria Info, Aisha revealed that her children were diagnosed with the disease after experiencing constant eye pains.

“They started experiencing eye problems long ago. When we visited the hospital, the doctors said the best option was to do the surgery. Hopefully, they will be fine after the surgery”, she said.

In another part of Kano, Abdullahi Idris visited a hospital after experiencing consistent eye pains, itching, and headaches. He was eventually diagnosed with glaucoma and underwent surgery. Now, he feels relieved.

“My eyes were itching me all the time, and the pains were unbearable. After I was diagnosed, I underwent surgery immediately. Now I no longer feel the itching and pains.”

Early detection enabled Idris to tackle his challenge but thousands of Nigerians are unaware they have glaucoma.

This is because ophthalmologists say the eye disease shows no obvious symptoms until it is late-stage.

8.4 Million People Blinded by Glaucoma

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, 8.4 million individuals worldwide are blind from primary open-angle glaucoma.

The foundation estimates that number could increase to 22 million by 2040.

Back home, data from the Nigeria National Blindness and Impairment Survey shows that one in every 20 Nigerians aged 40 years and above has glaucoma, and five of them incur irreversible blindness.

A Consultant Ophthalmologist at Makkah Specialist Eye Hospital, Dr. Sayema Sharief, has said the disease could be hereditary.

Dr. Sayema further advised family members of glaucomatous patients to “get their eyes checked for early detection.”

Early Signs of Glaucoma

Another Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr. Adamu Haruna Bako says headaches, eye pains, and blurred vision are early signs of glaucoma.

“When you start experiencing severe headache, eye pain; or you suddenly have blurred vision or eye redness, please consult an ophthalmologist,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman of the Kano State Eye Health Committee, Dr. Usman Abubakar Mijinyawa, says the state government has subsidized the diagnostic tests and treatments for glaucoma patients.

“To be honest the prevalence is not a good thing, but the government is doing everything to stop the prevalence. Right now, we have subsidized all the tests and treatments for glaucoma patients”, he said.


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