The 10th anniversary of the World Glaucoma Week celebration has been launched in Accra.
The celebration, which is being organized by the Glaucoma Association of Ghana in collaboration with the World Glaucoma Association and World Glaucoma Patients Association, is on the theme: 'Beat Invisible Glaucoma (B-I-G)'.
It also has a sub theme: 'Screen First Degree Relatives (FDRs)'.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister for Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, indicated that by the statistical records available from the National Eye Care Secretariat, 700,000 Ghanaians were living with glaucoma while over 60,000 were already blind from the disease.
Mr Manu noted, however, that through the awareness creation activities of the Glaucoma Association of Ghana, more and more people were becoming aware of glaucoma with corresponding increases in hospital attendance by patients for glaucoma screening.
He pledged government's support to the Glaucoma Association of Ghana in creating more awareness to reduce blindness from glaucoma.
Mr Manu said it was the expectation of government that all eye care facilities in Ghana would make it a point to screen patients free of charge during the Glaucoma Week while patients found to have the condition should be referred to specialist eye care professionals for further treatment.
For his part, the President of the Glaucoma Association of Ghana, Mr Harrison Kofi Abutiate, explained the focus of the theme as an attempt to draw attention to the genetic nature of the disease as it was found in parents, children and siblings.
He said glaucoma was the condition when the ultra-ocular pressure (IOP) was raised over a period and cause damage to the optic nerve head with corresponding loss of visual function, adding that glaucoma gradually resulted in blindness which was irreversible.
He, therefore, urged members of the general public to go for eye screening at least once a year.
In her remarks, the Patron of the Glaucoma Association of Ghana and former first lady of Ghana, Mrs Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings, appealed to corporate organisations to support the programmes and activities of the Glaucoma Association of Ghana to create more awareness.
Source: ISD (Doris Sodjah)