Lagos – An Ophthalmologist, Dr Chima Agodi, has said that an increasing number of young people in the country were becoming affected by glaucoma, an acute eye ailment which often resulted in blindness.
Agodi, a Practitioner with Me Cure Eyecare Centre, made the assertion when he spoke with newsmen  in Lagos.
He said that glaucoma was an eye disease which damaged the optic nerves, causing irreversible blindness.
“Glaucoma, is really becoming an issue, the percentage of people affected by glaucoma remains higher among the elderly from the age of 65 and there about.
“But we are beginning to see an increase in reports of cases of glaucoma, particularly among the young now,” he said.
Agodi said that no research had been done in recent time on the prevalence of glaucoma.
However, he said that increased eye screenings had become a direct result of increased awareness about glaucoma.
The ophthalmologist said that more people were becoming health conscious and were checking their eyes only to find out that they have glaucoma.
Agodi said that everyone was at risk of glaucoma but that diabetics, people with cardiovascular diseases and people with a family history of glaucoma, had a higher risk of being affected.
He added the risk of glaucoma also increased as people aged.
Agodi said that in the past, glaucoma often went undiagnosed until it was too late because the disease did not present any symptom in the early stages.
The ophthalmologist urged Nigerians to have their eyes checked at least once a year without waiting for the symptoms which appear when it was already too late.
He said certain people who displayed unusual signs might be prompted by the ophthalmologist to get checked more often as a safety precaution.
Agodi said patients experienced some vision loss but did not notice it until the vision loss becomes severe because the less affected eye compensates for the other.
He said that in rare cases, patients observed rainbow-colored circles when they looked at bright lights.
The ophthalmologist said that glaucoma had no cure and remained the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.
“Controlling the condition is the only option for people diagnosed with the disease.
“For the rest of their lives, patients must use prescription eye drops and constantly monitor their eye pressure with the help of a specialist to prevent blindness,” he said.