Glaucoma Alert; Ghanaians Not As Safe As They Thought – Dr. Ekuffo

The eye care system in Ghana can be said to be one in its infant or growing stages but the challenges surrounding the eye care system in Ghana prevents the country from making strides. Glaucoma is a rising health concern in Ghana because it is not treatable but Ghanaians due the misconceptions surrounding the disease and expenses associated to it makes people decide to live with similar treatable diseases it until they finally loose their sight.

Ghana currently has 91 ophthalmologists, and would need 21 more to reach the WHO target. Dr Bridget Serwaa Ekuffo  who happens to be a Dr. of Optometry at Dashen Optician Accra, joined the Morning Xpress Show with Host, Kofi Oppong Asamoah, to discuss the misconceptions surrounding the disease and educate the general public on what we can do to avoid making avoidable mistakes with regards to eye care.

According to Dr. Ekuffo, in the urban areas you would have people coming in for their regular routine checks but mostly people come in because of a particular condition they may be find themselves in.

She stated that “there are a lot of people in the schools for the blind who are actually not blind. They are visually impaired and are usually low vision people. They are able to sometimes lead the people who are completely blind around.”

“Research has shown that black people and women have a high risk of contracting Glaucoma. There are a lot of misconception about the disease because it is not fully understood,” she added.

The fact that you think you can see does not mean there is nothing wrong. It is better to say you checked and you know for a fact that there is nothing wrong – Dr. Bridget Ekuffo.

These people as she described can get help and maybe be enrolled in regular schools that are in the school for the blind.

Unfortunately we don’t have enough facilities and equipment’s in private clinic, but we don’t even have what it takes to attend to these people in the Public sector.

“If our national health was working efficiently, where people would know that the consultation, and procedures would be catered for, they won’t compromise on their eye care and know they are getting value for their money.”

Fortunately, ion the conversation she disclosed that a lot of private insurance schemes are springing up which are taking care of these deficits, but is only available to those in the formal sector. Due to the challenges we face in our country Ghana the informal sector are deprived of such benefits.

Those in the informal sector don’t have access to that so they have to pay out of their pocket. They end up feeling like they can put their eyes on hold as long as it’s not excruciating.

“It’s not every red eye that is “apollo” some red eyes can lead to blindness,” she cautioned.

Cataract as she explained was the number cause of blindness which is very treatable. What happens is that the natural lens which is similar to a clear class becomes opaque. She likened a similar example of driving a car and dust accumulates on your windshield and light falls on it, you can see much. That was how cataract behaves.

“There are 15-30 mins procedures which are the cheapest and it saves you from getting blind. A lot of people live with it but don’t know especially these in the villages who end up taking all kinds of concoctions to solve the problem.

Source: Ghana/