Akiolu to subjects: Prevent glaucoma

Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu has  called on  Lagos residents to go for glaucoma screening to prevent blindness.

Oba Akiolu said this when the management of Pfizer Specialties, the country’s arm of Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals, paid the monarch a courtesy visit.

Oba Akiolu said he has lived with the condition for over 21 years and was able to manage same because of the right information. “So, as a person living with glaucoma, I can say for anyone not to go blind, if you are being treated for glaucoma, be sure to take your prescribed glaucoma medicine every day. See your eye care professional regularly. You can help protect the vision of family members and friends, who may be at high risk for glaucoma, especially those over age 40 and everyone over 60 years and people with a family history of the disease by sharing information as I am doing.

“Please encourage them to have a comprehensive dilated eye examination regularly. Remember that lowering eye pressure in the early stages of glaucoma slows progression of the disease and helps save vision,” said Oba Akiolu.

He said glaucoma is the thief of sight hence, “immediate treatment for early-stage, open-angle glaucoma can delay progression of the disease. “That’s why early diagnosis is very important. Glaucoma treatments include medicines, laser trabeculoplasty, conventional surgery, or a combination of any of these. While these treatments may save remaining vision, they do not improve or restore sight already lost from glaucoma,” he said.

Director, Corporate Affairs, Pfizer Specialties Limited Nigeria and East Africa Region (NEAR) Region, Mrs Margaret Olele, said the company was at the palace to explore ways to partner the monarch to ensure that more people have access to routine screening in the state, including glaucoma. “There is no cure for glaucoma. Glaucoma is described as sneak thief of vision. Vision lost from the disease cannot be restored. Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to eye’s optic nerve and gets worse over time. It’s often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma tends to be inherited and may not show up until later in life. So, we want to create awareness on that and also provide medical-posts where people, especially the market men and women can go and check for non communicable diseases (NCDs). Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but if it is diagnosed and treated early, the disease can be controlled,” said Mrs Olele.

Explaining how glaucoma comes about, she said: “The increased pressure, called intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. If damage to the optic nerve from high eye pressure continues, glaucoma will cause permanent loss of vision. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years. Because most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain from this increased pressure, it is important to see an eye doctor regularly so that glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated before long-term visual loss occurs.”

She reinterated that if one was over age 40 and has a family history of glaucoma, one should have a complete eye examination with an eye doctor every one to two years. If one has health problems such as diabetes or a family history of glaucoma or is at a risk for other eye diseases, one may need to visit an eye doctor more frequently.

Members of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Glaucoma Support Group Initiative were also there.

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