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World Glaucoma Week to be observed in The Gambia

Mar 8, 2016, 11:00 AM | Article By: Isatou Senghore-Njie

The National Eye Health Programme (NEHP) and Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Center (SZRECC), in collaboration with partners’ Sight Savers, OneSight and the Gambia Organization for the Visually Impaired (GOVI), recently briefed the media on the World Glaucoma Week celebration.

The day is celebrated throughout the world on 10 March, and in The Gambia there will be a march-past from Westfield to Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Centre in Kanifing on the theme: “Raising awareness and examine first degree relatives.”

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, and also the leading cause of irreversible blindness.

Each year, the Eye Health Families, in collaboration with its esteemed partners, adopts a common theme in consonance with the international one.

Speaking at the briefing, Dr Abba Hydara, coordinator of the National Eye Health Programme, said the week (6 – 12 March) is very important, as over the years the week had been set aside to raise awareness on the disease.

“Glaucoma is a very important disease which does not have any racial boundaries and can be found in some young children, but it’s common among adults.”

He added that glaucoma isthe second leading cause of blindness worldwide, and the number of blind people in the whole world had been estimated to be about 45 to 50 million people, with the major cause being cataract.

However, someone who is blind from cataract could have an eye operation and their sight could be restored, but if someone had glaucoma “the sight could never come back”.

He added that more than 50 per cent of people who had glaucoma are not aware they have glaucoma, and that the only way they could know is to have their eyes checked.

The earlier the diagnosis, the lesser the damage done, with greater possibility of rescuing the situation, he added.

Amadou Bah of the eye care centre called on people to regularly check their eyes, as they do not need to wait until they feel pain or when they see redness or other problem, before they come for a checkup.He said those between the ages of 35 above should make it a habit of doing a checkup once or twice a year.

Haddy Sohna, assistant matron, and Kato Kijera, matron-head of nurse at the hospital, both appealed to the general public to go for regular eye checking.

Sarjo Kanji, programme manager of the hospital chaired the briefing.