Glaucoma cases reach alarming rate in Ashanti Region

The Ashanti Region has been recording an alarming rate of glaucoma cases with over 600 per cent rise between 2014 and 2016. One of the communities most affected is Beposo in the Sekyere Central District, where one out of six residents suffers from vision loss and five per cent of glaucoma patients are not aware they have the disease. Residents are hoping for an eye centre in the district to ease access to eye services. The increasing cases of glaucoma are a major concern worldwide.  It is projected 80 million people are likely to suffer from the disease if preventable measures are not put in place by 2020. In Ghana, 600 thousand people suffer from glaucoma but 250 thousand of patients are unaware of their condition. Statistics also reveal 60 thousand of blindness in Ghana is as a result of glaucoma, making the disease the second cause of blindness after cataract. In the Ashanti region, 860 glaucoma cases were recorded in 2014. This figure rose to 4, 326 in 2015 and 6,122 in 2016, representing a 600 per cent increase in cases.  The figure, however, improved by 40 per cent between 2015 and 2016. Beposo, a community in the region, has been identified by the regional health directorate as one of the glaucoma prone areas. Sekyere Central District Director of Health, Dr Danso Yeboah says most residents are not aware of their condition, in spite of the alarming rate of glaucoma. “We have several cases of blindness in this community that are attributed to glaucoma but most of the patients are unaware of the disease. The absence of a district hospital and an eye clinic discourages residents from travelling to Mampong and Kumasi for regular eye-check”. He said the directorate intends strengthening our outreach services and intensive community education to create awareness of the disease. Ashanti regional deputy director of clinical care, Dr Fred Adomako Boateng, described the disease as progressive, hence the need for regular eye check-up to stay away from glaucoma. He attributed the increasing rate of glaucoma reported cases to awareness creation. Dr Adomako Boateng urged the public to at least check their eyes once a year because early detection can save one from blindness. “We can’t cure glaucoma but we can control and manage it to prevent it from causing further damage if detected early,” he said. A glaucoma patient, Akua Sooku, wants the government to provide the district with a health facility with eye services to improve the situation.The Ashanti Regional health directorate has in its quest to detect more cases embarked on a free eye screening exercise for residents of Beposo and some adjoining communities.

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By Abubakar Ibrahim|3news.com|Ghana]]>