Public advised to go for early eye check ups

Kenyans have been advised to go for regular eye checkups to reduce chances of developing full blown glaucoma.

According to Maureen Shabuya, an ophthalmologist from Kenyatta National Hospital, majority of people who failed to go for regular eye check up ended up with visual impairments.

Dr.Shabuya who was speaking at the Machakos Level 5 hospital Tuesday during a free eye clinic said many Kenyans currently with partial blindness or who have lost their sight did not get early information on things that could negatively affect their sight.

The one week clinic which is a partnership between the Kenyan Government and various international stakeholders is being held to commemorate the Global Glaucoma week which kicked off on Sunday.

Glaucoma in some instances can be an inherited condition but this problem can be addressed during routine eye checkups.

However, it might not be the only reason why you need to have regular eye checkups .At times, you may be diagnosed and treated for other conditions such as cataracts or refractive error, she told the press.

Glaucoma is singled out as the leading cause for irreversible blindness for people aged above 35 around the world.

It is a condition that results from build-up of high pressure inside the eye.

There is usually no warning or obvious symptoms to detect it until a marked irreversible loss of vision has occurred earning the disease tag ”the sneaky thief of sight.

Daniel Mutua one of the glaucoma patients present during Tuesday’s camp said he had lived with the condition for the last eight years.

I first noticed the condition when working as a driver. I could hardly drive at night with the flood light all over. But the end came when I started seeing blurred images with my left eye,he recalled.

He said after visiting the hospital he was informed that he had developed glaucoma and immediately put on medication.

To manage the condition, Mutua spends a total of S6, 000 every month, something that has stretched his family to the limits.

I am almost running broke since I had to leave my job to deal with the condition. I have now been forced to hustle to get the amount now that my savings have been drained, he laments.

The patient is now calling upon the government to intervene into the matter by availing subsidized drugs which are affordable to the common person.

The former driver has also called upon people not to take their eye conditions for granted but rather visit hospitals frequently for check-ups.

Dr.Shabuya decried the low number of patients who visited the facility on day one of the exercise but was quick to add they were optimistic the trend will improve in the course of the week.

This clinic was expected to draw patients from the three counties of Machakos, Kitui and Makueni but so far we have only managed to attend to 51 people. We are nevertheless upbeat that the number will improve before we officially close the camp by Saturday this week, she added.

Treatment for Glaucoma include, pressure lowering eye drops, laser beams or surgery.

According to a recent UN health survey, it is estimated there will be 79.5 million people with glaucoma globally by 2020 up from 60.5 million people in 2010.

Source: Kenya News Agency