Article: The Current Status of Glaucoma and Glaucoma Care in Sub-Saharan Africa

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | December 27th, 2018

Glaucoma is a serious and irreversibly blinding eye condition of public health importance in Africa. The absence of distinct early symptoms makes the condition hard to recognize by patients. The gradual vision deterioration that occurs is worse in one eye, thereby making it difficult for those affected to be aware of the vision loss until the advanced stages of the disease. We discuss the epidemiology of glaucoma in sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the risk factors for the disease as well as risk factors for blindness in glaucoma patients. Available evidence suggests that treatment options of medical, surgical, and laser therapies for glaucoma are limited by availability of medicines and equipment, lack of adequate surgical and diagnostic skills, and high costs of treatment. We propose 3 complementary strategies in developing models of glaucoma care: strengthening clinical services for glaucoma; earlier detection of glaucoma in the clinics and communities; and strengthening health systems governance. Further research to define a suitable cost-beneficial treatment modality and mechanisms for financing eye care is required.

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