Dr. Sola Pitan, Medical Director of the Orile Agege General Hospital, Lagos, says the hospital will screen 2000 people to commemorate the World Glaucoma Week.
Pitan spoke at the hospital on Monday as the 2022 edition of the global event got underway.
He said the aim of the screening was to create awareness about glaucoma and ensure people in the environment got free access to check their eyes.
The World Glaucoma Week is marked annually from March 6 to March 12 globally.
The week is a global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association, WGA, that puts a spotlight on glaucoma as the leading cause of preventable irreversible blindness worldwide.
The theme of this year is “The World is Bright, Save Your Sight”
Pitan said: “Glaucoma is the second cause of blindness in the world and the number one cause of irreversible blindness, and that is why we have tag on with the celebration to create awareness about it.
“Occasions like this call for reflection on how to help reduce the burden of glaucoma and ensure that people get their eyes checked, for early detection, and prevent irreversible blindness.
“Our target is to test and screen 2000 individuals in the weeklong programme, but with the crowd we have here today, we might exceed that target.
“We will work with those detected with glaucoma, give them the necessary medical advice and ensure the management of such cases,” he said.
Also, Dr Taiwo Oluyemi, a Consultant Opthalmologist, said that the prompt diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma can prevent needless vision impairment.
Oluyemi, who is the Director of Clinical Services and Head, Department of Eye Clinic in the hospital, said glaucoma, the cause of which is yet to be known, is associated with various risk factors.
She said the risk factors include increasing age, previous injury on the eye, short sightedness, family history, medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension among others.
“Glaucoma is a growing public health concern that needs more attention and effective eye health systems.
“It is a group of diseases that affect the optic nerve of the eye and caused by pressure building up inside the eye which damages the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain.
“A lot of people are unaware they have the disease because it is symtom-less or may not have access to much-needed care to prevent irreversible blindness,” she said.
She said that Glaucoma accounts for eight per cent of all blindness affecting an estimated 3.1million people globally according to the World Health Organisation.
According to her, the Open Angle Glaucoma is the most common in the country, compared to the Angle Closure Glaucoma, Normal Tension Glaucoma, and Secondary Glaucoma which are some of the types of the disease.
Oluyemi advised Nigerians to get their eyes checked at least once in a year for early detection of glaucoma and other eye defects that can lead to blindness.