World Glaucoma Week Activities
REPORT OF THE WORLD GLAUCOMA WEEK (WGW) 2020 HELD BY DE-LENS OPHTHALMICS, FAMILY EYE AND VISION CARE CENTRE ABUJA, NIGERIA.
8TH -14TH MARCH 2020.
De-Lens Ophthalmics Family Eye and Vision Care Centre, a reputable eye clinic in the city of Abuja, joined the world to celebrate the World Glaucoma Week (WGW) in a memorable way. The WGW is an annual event specifically meant to sensitize and educate the public about the “Silent thief of sight” known as Glaucoma and to encourage everyone to get tested.
Glaucoma is generally known to be a group of diseases that causes damage to the optic nerve, (which serves as channel for visual impulses from the eyes to the brain), causing progressive vision loss and ultimately blindness. It is also known that this damage is very subtle in most cases, and irreversible.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness globally, and the leading cause of irreversible blindness, accounting for 8% of all blindness, affecting over 3 million blind people in the world. The burden created by this disease is enormous, of which lack of awareness or perhaps ignorance contributes significantly to this increasing burden. That is why the WGW is characterized by events or activities aimed at creating awareness, educating the people and sensitizing them about this peculiar enemy of sight.
De-Lens Ophthalmics as usual did not fall short in adding her amplified voice in this campaign, as she organized several activities throughout the week. Activities included:
• Enlightenment programs and talk shows in media houses (TV and radio houses, National dailies)
• Free screenings within her facility and outside her facility.
• Inaugural ceremony of the Glaucoma Support Group (GSG) the first of its kind in the northern part of Nigeria with an area of 20,131 km2 and over 90 million people.
Details of the activities are presented below:
1) ENLIGHTENMENT PROGRAMS AND TALK SHOWS.
De-Lens Ophthalmics played guest in notable TV, radio and Newspaper houses during the WGW. De-Lens team ably led by Dr. Damian Echendu (CEO), was on Raypower 99.5 FM to give a talk on Glaucoma, as a way of public enlightenment. He stressed on the need for regular eye check, as that is one of the most effective way to mitigate this increasing burden of blindness caused by glaucoma, noting that early detection is key to effective management of glaucoma. He also encouraged favorable government policies as regards the cost of eye care in the country, as the financial burden seen in the management of glaucoma contributes significantly to prevalence of blindness due to the disease.
The presence of this team was also felt in African Independent Television (AIT), were similar talk was given and screening of their staff thereafter. This was not all, the team took this awareness, enlightenment and screening campaign to a sections of the community who commonly finds it difficult to access quality eye care due to their very busy schedule, such places includes the commercial centers like Commerce Plaza, Area 1 Garki. The children were not left out, an enlightenment talk was given to pupils and teachers of Catherina Academy located in Dutse Alhaji area of FCT. Special time was also made available by doctors within De-Lens facilities to screen and educate scheduled and walk-in patients about glaucoma.
2) FREE SCREENINGS
As it was said earlier that prompt detection of glaucoma is key to effective management, De-Lens team carried out series of free glaucoma screenings within and outside her facility. The screening tests carried out included history taking, visual acuity testing, funduscopy and Intra Ocular Pressure (IOP) measurement.
Below are details of the screening processes:
a) Screening at Commerce Plaza Area 1 Garki, Abuja on 9th March, 2020.
After the enlightenment talk at the venue, a total number of Eighty-three (83) persons were screened, aged from 18 to 65 years with a mean age of approximately 38years. Total number of males were 75 (90%) and female 8 (10%), with male to female ratio of 9:1. Thirty-two (32) participants were referred to the clinic for further examination ranging from suspected glaucoma case (63%) to refractive error (16%) and ocular hypertension (6%). Other suspected cases included retinitis pigmentosa (3%), chorioretinal scar (3%), Cataract (3%), Diabetic retinopathy (3%).
b) Screening at African Independent Television (AIT) on 12th March 2020.
A total number of Seventy-four (74) participants were seen at the TV station, 56 males (76%) and 18 females (24%), with age ranging from 20 – 69 years having a mean age of approximately thirty-nine (39) years. Twenty-five (25) participants were told to visit the clinic for further investigations due to suspicion of glaucoma (60%), ocular hypertension (16%), refractive error (12%), cataract (4%), retinal lesion (4%) and peripapillary atrophy (4%).
c) Screening of pupils and teachers of Catherina Academy on 11th March 2020.
A total of 35 pupils and 2 teachers were screened in our facility. Age of pupils ranged from 8 – 11 years, with mean age of approximately 9years. Seven (7) participants were advised to return to clinic for further tests for glaucoma (57%) and refractive error (43%).
d) Screening within the two clinics branches from 9th to 14th March 2020.
During the WGW, De-Lens Ophthalmics threw the doors of both branches open for the public to come for glaucoma screening. Banners, fliers and verbal announcements were done to ensure that the public is aware of the free screening. The two branches located at different strategic points within the city screened a total of 41 participants, 20 males and 21 females, with ages ranging from 22 – 54 years with an approximate mean age of 31years. Twenty-six participants needed to return to the clinic for further examinations for reasons of glaucoma suspicion (42%), refractive error (31%) and other eye conditions (27%).
3) INAUGURATION OF DE-LENS GLAUCOMA SUPPORT GROUP (GSG)
The WGW had no better way to end this year, other than with the inauguration of the Glaucoma Support Group (GSG). The idea of setting up this group according to De-Lens Ophthalmics stems out from three basic reasons which includes,
• firstly, it’s to allow patients to meet their health care professionals in a relaxed atmosphere, away from the time restricted atmosphere on outpatients, so the condition and treatment can be discussed in more depth.
• secondly, as part of our corporate social responsibility to help raise awareness for glaucoma, which is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide and
• thirdly, to Increase global accessibility to knowledge and eye-care and compliance with drugs used in managing glaucoma as well as to propagate, practice and support globally accepted glaucoma diagnosis and management protocol.
The inauguration ceremony held on the 14th of March, 2020, with the attendance of relevant stakeholders which included the chairman of the Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA), FCT chapter, a great team of doctors, individuals leaving with glaucoma, De-Lens Eyecare Ambassador 2020, the media (electronic and print), and De-Lens team. A total of twenty (20) persons were in attendance, an opening speech was made by the chief convener Dr Damian Echendu, welcoming all present. A PowerPoint presentation was delivered by Dr Obinwanne Chukwuemeka, which focused on the need for the GSG and how relevant it is in our clime. Questions and comments were taken after the presentation.
The inauguration proper was done as Dr Echendu assisted by chairperson of the NOA, as well as relevant stakeholders unveiled the lapels for the GSG and pinned on each other.
A survey was done with the help of questionnaires to ascertain if participant enjoyed being part of the group and how good was the content of the program. The response was great, as all participants enjoyed being part of the group and rated the content very good. Other questions asked included how often the group should meet, and what ideas could improve the group. Response from participants showed that 80% wants the group to meet quarterly and other ways to improve the group includes:
• Getting it registered with relevant authorities as soon as possible.
• Regular sharing of information relating to glaucoma
• Creating a website for the group
• Involving in regular campaigns and outreaches
• Partnering with other stakeholders in eye care
• Providing free medications to those who can’t afford it
• Voluntary donations
• Educating eye care practitioners on proper management of glaucoma
Dr Osazee Agbonlahor (OD, MPH)
Head: Eye-care and Ocular Diagnostics
De-Lens Ophthalmics Abuja.
Note: Attached are some of the photographs and more information is available by following this link https://delensng.com/de-lens-ophthalmics-marks-world-glaucoma-week/
Contact: Dr Damian C. Echendu
Contact Email: email@example.com