Ophthalmologists in eight regions of Ghana are preparing to offer the new painless glaucoma treatment introduced to Ghana by the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) to patients across the country.
This was disclosed by the head of ophthalmology department of UHAS, Dr. Alfred Osafo Kwaako, while speaking at the Ophthalmological Society of Ghana’s 2018 Glaucoma Update Conference held at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
“Since 2014, the Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery [MIGS] has been offered in the Volta region of Ghana. Ophthalmologists are now offering this service in all regions except the Upper East and Upper West regions. We are optimistic that, by the year 2020, all hospitals in Ghana will offer this service,” Dr. Osafo-Kwaako said.
The MIGS involves the creation of a tiny channel by a surgeon to relieve the pressure in the eye and this ultimately eliminates the use of eye drops by these patients. It is safe, affordable, painless and fast. It costs about Ghana 1,000 and takes between 10 to 15 minutes to complete the procedure.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness and the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be approximately 80 million people with glaucoma, an increase of about 20 million since 2010.
In Ghana, an estimated 700,000 people are living with glaucoma, out of which, 60,000 have already gone permanently blind.
Dr. Osafo-Kwaako therefore, encouraged all eye hospitals across the country to start delivering this service to patients suffering from glaucoma.
Since the countrywide promotion of the painless procedure began about a year ago, no complications have been recorded. The only problem encountered is that the procedure was ineffective in about 5% of Ghanaian patients treated. These patients were, however, given the option to either repeat the painless procedure or return to the eye drops they were using before the procedure.