Consultant Ophthalmologist, University College Hospital, Ibadan (UCHI), Dr Adegbola Adeyemi says Africans of 40 years are at risk of glaucoma.
Adeyemi revealed this in an event to commemorate the 2018 World Glaucoma Week in Ibadan on Friday.
News Agency of Nigeria, reports that the event, which is held annually March 11 and 17, is themed “GREEN: Go get your eyes tested for Glaucoma – save your sight”.
Eye experts globally are expected to carry out series of activities to alert people to have regular eye (and optic nerve) checks to detect glaucoma earlier thus contributing to sight preservation.
Adeyemi also described glaucoma as silent eye blindness and an extremely serious eye disorder which can cause blindness if not treated early.
“Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve, the part of the eye that carries the images we see through the brain. In the healthy eye, a clear liquid circulates in the front portion of the eye.
“To maintain a constant healthy eye pressure, the eye continually produces a small amount of this fluid and an equal amount which flows out of the eye.
“If you have glaucoma, the fluid does not flow properly through the drainage system.
“The fluid pressure increases and this extra force press on the optic nerve in the back of the eye, causing damage to the nerve fibres’’.
Adeyemi explained further that a layer of cells behind the iris (the coloured part of the eye) produces a watery fluid, called ‘aqueous’.
“This fluid passes through a hole in the centre of the iris (called the pupil) to leave the eye through tiny drainage channels.
“These are in the angle between the front of the eye (the cornea) and the iris and return the fluid to the blood stream.
“Normally the fluid produced is balanced by the fluid draining out, but if it cannot escape or too much is produced, then the eye pressure will rise,” the consultant said.
Adeyemi said that people prone to developing glaucoma are adults over 60 and people with a family history of the disease.
The expert advised that people should take their eye health very seriously and do periodic eye screening, stressing that prevention is better than cure. (NAN)