By Joy Mbachi
Awka – Mrs Obiageli Okpala, a private Optometrist based in Awka has called on people of Anambra to develop the habit of regular eye examination as part of routine primary health care.
Okpala made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Tuesday.
She said that eye examination was a series of tests performed by an eye doctor to assess vision and ability to focus on and discern objects by an individual.
Okpala said that there were other tests and examinations that pertained to the eyes, saying that people should take seriously the care of the eye.
She said that health care professionals often recommended that everyone should have periodic and thorough eye examination as part of routine primary health care, as many eye diseases were asymptomatic.
“Eye examination should be done at an average of every one to two years if you don’t have any problem with your eyes. Frequent eye checks are recommended if you are diagnosed with serious eye problem,” she said.
Okpala said that there were systemic diseases that affected the eyes such as hypertension, diabetes, leukemia and anemia, among others.
She said that some eyes diseases could lead to serious eye defect and even blindness such as glaucoma, cataract and retinitis pigmentosa, among others.
Okpala said that early detection of eye diseases or abnormalities could save fortunes, as well as emotional trauma and disability.
“Such anomalies are glaucoma which does not show symptoms as the optic nerve gets destroyed and cause loss of visual field which ultimately leads to blindness.
“Cataract is the opacification of the lens in your eyes which lead to cloudy vision while Retinitis pigmentosa is the degeneration of the retinal cells and it causes serious eye defect, even blindness.
“High intra-ocular pressure kills the optic nerves and leads to blindness while Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the cells in the macular and this leads to loss of central vision and field.
“Retinal detachment is the pulling away of the retina from the layer of blood supply and that this could cause poor vision and loss of field,’’ Okpala said.
According to her, Retinal hemorrhage is bleeding in the retina that causes loss of vision and field.
The optometrist, however, appealed to people to go on a regular eye care.
She said that a full eye examination consisted of an external examination, followed by specific tests for visual acuity, pupil function, extra-ocular muscle motility, visual fields, intra-ocular pressure and ophthalmoscopy through a dilated pupil.
Okpala said that causes of poor vision include, refractive error like myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, astigmatism, Amblyopia, diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cataract, retinitis pigmentosa, tumors and stroke.
She said that signs and symptoms of poor vision included when someone moved close to objects in order to see,
“Positions a bible or book away from self before you could see.
“Also that things that are far away are clearer than when the person gets near. Aberrations and distortions appear around one’s object of focus and objects give cloudy and foggy vision no matter how clear the eyes, headache, dizziness,’’ she said.
Okpala said that benefits of eye examination included detection of minor eye defects, early diagnosis of potentially- treatable blinding eye diseases and detection of ocular manifestations of systemic diseases.
“Also, it affords one the ability to see signs of tumours or other anomalies of the brain, assurance of good eyesight and dispelling of phobias and ability to find out Malingerers.
“People should always go for full eye examination and check their eyes with optometrists and shun the habit to use another person’s glasses because it may cause more stress on eye muscles,’’ Okpala said.
She urged people to eat fruits and vegetables, most especially those that contain vitamin A and use glasses when prescribed by the eye doctor regularly.
She said that sources of vitamin A like pawpaw, mango, cod liver oil, eggs, orange, pumpkin, carrots, tomato, are encouraged to be a regular food intake by people as a way to keep healthy.