Families with glaucoma history risk blindness, says optometrist

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glaucomaDr Rita Okhaifoh, an Abuja based optometrist, has advised Nigerians to go for eye checkup at least once annually, especially people with a family history of glaucoma.

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Okhaifoh, who works at St. Mary’s Catholic Hospital, Gwagwalada, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that the eye was the most sensitive part of the body.

She said the eye could be predisposed to lot of diseases, infections and irritations.

Okhaifoh said that cataract and glaucoma were the most common causes of blindness and could affect anyone at any age, mostly at old age, between 40 and 70.

She also said that more people were going blind daily because they were ignorant of the factors that could predispose them to blindness.

“If you have any member of the family that has glaucoma you should go for checkup because if you are waiting for symptoms you might not get it.

“The only time glaucoma gives symptom is when the vision is almost gone and at that stage the person may go blind.

“The eye as the smallest organ of the body is the most sensitive part of the body which is predisposed to a lot of eye diseases, infections and irritations,” Okhaifoh said.

According to her, glaucoma is the world’s number one cause of blindness and sometimes it can not be prevented but cataract can be prevented through corrective surgery.

“But in glaucoma, any vision lost cannot be recovered; it is irreversible loss of vision,’’ Okhaifoh said.

The optometrist said that the most common cause of cataract included old age, usually from 50 years and above.

“When a patient is diabetic, especially when the patient poorly controls the sugar level, it could result in visual loss.

“Other causes of blindness are trauma and congenital cataract, which occurs in newborns.

‘’ When the centre of the eye of a newborn baby is whitish, this could be due to cataract,” Okhaifoh said.

She said that parents should contact an eye specialist immediately they noticed that the centre of their baby’s eye was whitish for early diagnosis and management.

Okhaifoh said that such congenital cataract could only be corrected through surgery and early enough to avoid the baby going blind.

She said that delay could be dangerous and irreversible, adding that “any child that has any symptom of eye problem or problem of vision in school should contact an eye specialist”.

The optometrist advised against self medication and discouraged Nigerians from the habit of resorting to buying drugs from pharmacies or patent medicine stores when they had issues with their eyes.

Okhaifoh said it was necessary for people to go for eye check from age 30 and above, to avoid damages as a result of delay.

“If you are 30 years and above, it is very important you do your eye checkup at least once in two years.

“But if you are 50 years and above, once in a year, because there are some things that a doctor may discover on time that could save vision,’’ she said.

Okhaifoh also advised that people should adhere to doctors’ instructions and diagnoses, to save the eye from any issue that might cause blindness or loss of visual function. (NAN)

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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