Glaucoma Can Lead to Blindness-Dr. Ibrahim Zakariya Abubakar
Zainab Tanimu –Kaduna, NIGERIA
The Association of Residence Doctors Kaduna Eye Center have stressed on the need for people to regularly check their eyes as that could help in early detection of the disease glaucoma.
This call was made when the team of medical experts was at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat to offer free medical checkup to members in commemoration of glaucoma week.
Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to your eye‘s optic nerve and gets worse over time. It’s often linked to a buildup of pressure inside your eye. Glaucoma tends to be inherited and may not show up until later in life.
The increased pressure, called intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to your brain. If the damage continues, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years.
As to the causes, it’s as a result of high fluid pressure inside your eye. This happens when the liquid in the front part of the eye does not circulate the way it should.
How much do you really know about your eyes? Dr. Ibrahim Zakariya Abubakar president, Association of Residence doctors Kaduna eye center, in a brief interview with Zainab Tanimu of News reservoir tells us more.
What is it that people should know about the eye?
The eye is like a window. It is what you use for anything you want to do. Without the eye it becomes difficult. There is a proverb in Hausa which says, somebody that doesn’t have eyes is like someone who is dead standing because you cannot do anything.
You can imagine a situation where one was previously seeing and suddenly doesn’t see any more. Everywhere becomes black. That is the problem with this glaucoma because ultimately it leads to blindness.
Why do you attach importance to checking people who do not have any symptom of glaucoma?
It is because glaucoma does not show any sign at the initial stage and by the time it starts showing signs or symptoms, the damage must have reached about 70 or 80%. It is already advanced. The disease does not show any sign; meanwhile the damage is ongoing.
The difficulty thing with glaucoma is that any damage that already occurred cannot be regained.
At what age does one develop glaucoma?
Glaucoma can occur in any age but more common in older adults.
There are different types of glaucoma; in fact, some people are born with it. This is called the congenital glaucoma. It is associated with the newborn babies.
Some people get it at younger age. We call it juvenile glaucoma but the commonest and the type of glaucoma that we are talking about is the one associated with older age. Usually from around 40yrs but you find out that even people from the age of 35years are at risk. It is commoner among black people. The more you are advanced in age, the more the risk of developing glaucoma.
How does the mother know that her baby has glaucoma?
Most of them when they give birth to a child, many a times you notice that the eyes are so big, that is the black side of the eyes large, larger than normal, the baby may be bringing out tears and whenever they enter the sun or shine light, the baby would be covering the eyes, like closing the eyes. That means there is a problem.
Sometimes if the mother is the careful type, if she looks into the eyes you would see some whitish substance on the black part of the eye. This shows that there is something wrong with the eye. The next thing is going to see the doctor. This type is not as common as that one which affects the elderly.
How often should one see the doctor for a check-up?
For those people who do not have any history of glaucoma, once they are within the age of forty or above, at least once every year. Let just go and let the doctor confirm that there is no glaucoma. But if someone has a family history, the risk is higher. Family history maybe father, mother any sibling and the more the number of family members with history of the disease, the more the risk. That kind of person advisably should see the doctor every six months.
Why it is so important is that if there is something and it is detected early, we can start doing something in terms of management and treatment so that we can actually slow down the damage from on-going and the person hopefully would be able to live his normal life again.
On the issue of glasses, there are simple and less expensive glasses. The problem some people have is that they just go to the roadside and they see glasses and just buy. Please take your time and go to the hospital.They would look at you if there is any other problem because once you reach 40yrs and above, you need glasses for reading. It is normal changes that occur.