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GLAUCOMA: One in every 5 Nigerian at risk of going blind, group says

Nigeria has been rated to account for 50 per cent of glaucoma cases in Africa as well as being the country in the continent with the largest number of patients suffering from eye problems.

It is also said that one in every 20 Nigerians aged 40 years and above has glaucoma, and one in five at risk of being blind.

This alarm was raised by a medical foundation and eye hospital in Nigeria, the Tulsi Chanrai Foundation (TCF), when it addressed newsmen in Abuja at the weekend.

The foundation harped on the need for eye checkups to aid early detection and treatment in order to prevent blindness.

According to the spokesperson for the TCF, Dr. Deepak Kumar, it was estimated that 1.1 to 1.4 million adults in Nigeria have glaucoma. He said most of them most do not even know they have the disease.

Adding that the prevalence and high rate of blindness showed that glaucoma remained of public health importance and should be a priority among healthcare planners and policymakers, Kumar said there were approximately 8,500 people aged 40 years and above with glaucoma per million population.

Further noting that 50 of glaucoma cases in Africa are from Nigeria, he said 8 per cent of glaucoma cases were secondary, with over half of these following procedures for cataract, particularly couching, which is still widely practiced in Nigeria despite very poor visual outcomes.

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He said, “This underscores the need for high quality, affordable and accessible eye surgical services.”

The foundation, which opened its services on January 15, 2019 and was formally inaugurated by His Excellency, President Muhammad Buhari, on July 11, 2019, said in its efforts to fight the scourge of blindness, that it had conducted over 124,000 free eye surgeries such as glaucoma and cataract.

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