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WORLD GLAUCOMA WEEK: LAGOS HOLDS AWARENESS WALK, FREE EYE PRESSURE CHECK

… Warns Citizens Against Patronising Quacks

… Advocates Regular Eye Checks

Lagos State Government has warned citizens to avoid patronising unqualified eye healthcare personnel and quacks, just as it also advocated regular eye checks to prevent irreversible blindness that may be caused by Glaucoma and other blinding conditions.  

Speaking after an Awareness Walk organised by the State Ministry of Health to commemorate the Year 2022 World Glaucoma Week in Lagos State, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, explained that patronage of unqualified eye health professionals for eye care services is inimical to the efforts being made by government and relevant stakeholders to reduce the prevalence of avoidable blinding eye conditions.

Ogboye noted that the theme of the Year 2022 World Glaucoma Week, “The World is Bright, Save Your Sight”, brings to fore the need for citizens to take responsibility and good care of their eyes to prevent vision impairment and irreversible blindness caused by Glaucoma and other blinding eye conditions.

He said: “The eye is a very delicate organ in the body that requires proper attention and treatment by licensed eye healthcare professionals. The eye is such a precious gift to all human beings and it is something we must pay particular attention to. I would say to everyone that patronise quacks for their eye healthcare that they need to make a re-evaluation of how important their eyes are. I know how important my eyes are to me, and I definitely won’t be submitting it to just anybody to look at and I certainly won’t be inserting any fluid or drug that is not recommended”.

Ogboye stated that the Awareness Walk organised by the Ministry of Health to commemorate this year’s World Glaucoma Week is targeted towards creating awareness and sensitising the populace on the dangers of Glaucoma as a silent killer of the sight.

In his words: “Glaucoma is one of those blinding eye conditions that just creeps against you. You may not even be aware it is happening to you until you lose your sight. Glaucoma has to do with raised intraocular pressure which changes the shape of the eyeball in a way that forces it to detach from the nerve at the back of the eyes that transmits images through to the brain and once they are detached, there is no way anybody can correct it”.

“This is one case where prevention is much better than cure. And the best way to prevent it is to make sure you get your eye pressure checked regularly, at least once a year. That helps you know whether the pressure in your eyes is high before you start to have advanced glaucoma, impaired vision or loss of vision”, he explained.

While restating the commitment of the present administration to the reduction of avoidable blindness, Ogboye averred that the State Government will reinvigorate and promote eye health education as well as increase access to eye care services across the State.

Speaking in the same vein, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Director, Medical Administration, Training and Programmes in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Funmilayo Shokunbi, explained that blindness caused by glaucoma is irreversible and has no cure but can be successfully managed if detected early enough.

Emphasising the need for regular eye checks as a preventive measure against Glaucoma, Shokunbi noted that citizens who are over the age of 40 years, have family members with glaucoma, have high intraocular (eye) pressure or have had an eye injury or eye surgery are at risk of Glaucoma.

“Citizens who are farsighted or nearsighted, use long-term steroids medications, have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sickle cell anaemia, poor blood circulation or other health problems affecting the whole body are also at risk of Glaucoma”, she added.

The Ophthalmologist disclosed further that the Ministry of Health is organising free eye screening and intraocular pressure checks for public servants including members of the Lagos State Executive Council, Body of Permanent Secretaries as well as civil servants as part of activities for the weeklong World Glaucoma commemoration in Lagos State.

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