Paul Odongo, 70, a resident of Apac District, is receiving medical care after his left eye was operated final week at Mengo Hospital in Kampala.
He says the operation adopted a surprising lack of sight after a painless illness attacked his eyes.
“5 years in the past, I began experiencing unusual modifications in my eyes. On daily basis I checked out my face within the mirror, my left eye was narrowing. However there was no ache within the eye,” he recollects.
Odongo, a retired pharmacist, says he later felt his sight was getting blur.
“So, I went to Apac hospital and the physician who examined my eyes stated there was some illness in my eyes. However he couldn’t inform me what precisely it was as a result of he was not an optician,” he says.
Nonetheless, Odongo didn’t know the illness was spreading so quick and shortly, he couldn’t do basic items he enjoys akin to studying.
He was dropped at Mengo hospital for specialised care and upon examination, docs discovered that he had cataracts which had affected each eyes.
“Final week, the left eye was operated and the docs informed me to come back again after one 12 months for the precise eye to be operated. The operation value me Shs1.2 m,” Odongo reveals.
He provides: “Proper now, I can see nicely however I’m nonetheless getting treatment earlier than I return dwelling. I miss studying my Bible.”
The retired medical employee revealed to this reporter that his spouse (unnamed) was additionally operated final month due to cataracts and glaucoma.
Nonetheless, the couple shouldn’t be the one ones affected by eye issues.
Ms Benina Kaggwa, 87, a resident of Kampala, was on Good Friday discharged from Mengo hospital.
Similar to Odongo, Ms Kaggwa was additionally identified with cataracts after shedding her sight.
“I began having issues with my sight 20 years in the past. Each time I went to the hospital, they might ask me to attend. Nonetheless, final 12 months, the physician knowledgeable me that I may very well be operated,” she says.
Ms Kaggwa, who was operated on Wednesday, reveals that though she is experiencing some ache she is ready to see with the left eye.
Cataracts affected each of her eyes. “They informed me to come back again after some months to function the precise eye. The value of operation is a bit excessive,” she says.
Mr Odongo and Ms Kaggwa make a part of the rising instances of avoidable blindness and visible impairment amongst Ugandans.
Dr Lisbon Aliraki, the top of the attention division at Mengo Hospital, one of many main eye care centres within the nation, says the variety of individuals experiencing eye issues has virtually doubled.
“We used to see round 260 sufferers presenting with eye drawback per day. However lately we obtain 400 sufferers in a day,” he reveals.
Dr Aliraki says 57 per cent of blindness instances within the nation are attributable to cataracts and that uncorrected refractive errors are the most typical reason behind visible impairment.
The hospital performs round 3,000 eye surgical procedures per 12 months and receives no less than 60,000 sufferers yearly, in line with data from administration.
Nonetheless, eye specialists say there isn’t a latest examine carried out within the nation to find out the speed at which the burden of eye issues is rising within the nation.
However earlier figures from the federal government’s Well being Administration Info System point out that between 300,000 and 350,000 individuals in Uganda are blind, and greater than 1.2 million have visible impairment
The nation is a signatory to the World Well being Organisation technique for elimination of avoidable blindness by the 12 months 2020.
Dr Dan Bwonya, one other eye specialist at Mengo Hospital, attributes the rising instances of eye issues to the growing burden of way of life ailments akin to diabetes, rising inhabitants and enchancment in lifespan.
“Cataracts is the main reason behind blindness worldwide and age is the main issue. Once you flip 60 years, your eye lens begins changing into opaque and regularly worsens as you get older and shortly, your imaginative and prescient fails,” he says.
The attention lens serves because the centre of eyesight by controlling the sunshine coming into the attention.
He defines cataract as a cloudy space within the lens of the attention that results in a lower in imaginative and prescient.
Dr Bwonya says signs of cataracts embrace pale colors, blurry or double imaginative and prescient, hassle with vivid lights, and hassle seeing at night time.
“Accidents are the opposite reason behind cataracts. When one thing hits your eye, you may find yourself creating cataracts. It will also be a results of different ailments like diabetes, which have an effect on eye lens by disorganising nerves within the eye,” he explains.
The skilled reveals that individuals who work in locations the place there’s intense warmth akin to pottery are at greater threat of creating cataracts.
“Then there are cataracts which develop in kids who’ve sicknesses earlier than start. This may be attributable to infections inside the uterus, and a few drugs being utilized by the mom may have an effect on the child and trigger cataracts,” Dr Bwonya says.
Dr Bwonya says there’s nonetheless no drugs that stops cataracts which have began creating.
“So, the one therapy accessible is that when the lens is simply too opaque that your eye can not see, we take away it and insert a synthetic one which is clearer,” he says.
Dr Bwonya urges individuals to keep away from existence that enhance the danger of creating diabetes, a significant contributing consider cataracts.
The danger components for getting diabetes embrace being obese which may consequence from lack of bodily train, and consuming meals with excessive sugar and fats ranges, in line with data from www.medicne.web.com. Different components embrace a household historical past of diabetes.
Well being minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng urges the general public to go for normal eye checkups and eat balanced diets, vegetables and fruit wealthy in nutritional vitamins to spice up their optical well being.
“Once you clock 40, it’s best to frequent eye care centres to avert sight loss. As much as 75 per cent of blindness is avoidable,” Dr Aliraki .
Different causes of eye issues
Minister Aceng says frequent causes of eye ailments embrace glaucoma, trachoma and refractory errors.
Dr Bwonya explains that glaucoma is the situation the place the strain within the eye rises above the traditional vary, however that this may be stopped when detected early.
He says the attention operates nicely on the strain ranges of 10-21 millimetre.
“However, failures within the functioning of the system within the eye to effectively produce and drain the traditional liquid referred to as aqueous, which is within the eye, and ailments like diabetes, could cause the rise in strain ranges, therefore glaucoma,” he says.
The skilled explains that glaucoma causes blindness by destroying the nerves within the eyes that management sight.
“When the strain has broken the nerve, it can’t be reversed, however after we detect the rising strain within the eye earlier than the damages, we are able to reverse this. It may be reversed by way of treatment to cease the strain or surgical operations to appropriate the drainage of the aqueous liquid within the eye,” Dr Bwonya says.
He additionally explains that refractive error implies that the form of 1’s eye doesn’t bend gentle accurately, leading to a blurred picture.
He says the issue manifests as shortsightedness and lengthy sightedness and that that is majorly attributable to hereditary components akin to household historical past of such circumstances.
Dr Bwonya says trachoma, a significant reason behind blindness and visible impairment within the nation, is a contagious bacterial an infection that impacts the floor of the eyes.
The micro organism trigger inflammations within the eye which heal leaving scars or ulcers within the eye that may result in blindness.
Dr Aceng says individuals ought to take private accountability to guard their eyes and go to hospitals commonly.
“Folks ought to all the time learn in good gentle, in addition to keep away from self-medication. You need to wash the face across the eyes each morning and shield the eyes from direct daylight,” she stated.
Dr Rose Mutumba, the director of Mengo hospital, says Uganda faces extreme scarcity of human sources and infrastructure to deal with the rising burden of eye issues.
A 2020 report by eye specialists; Dr Joseph Magyezi from Ruharo Eye Centre, Ruharo Mission Hospital, Mbarara and Dr Simon Arunga from Mbarara College of Science and Expertise, indicated that there’s want for pressing motion to enhance high quality and accessibility to eye care.
“Uganda’s inhabitants of 40 million is served by simply 40 ophthalmologists (1 per million inhabitants), and half of them work within the capital metropolis, Kampala. Which means that nearly all of eye care providers within the nation are offered by non-ophthalmologists,” their report reads.
It’s titled Eye care the place there are not any ophthalmologists: the Uganda expertise.’
About imaginative and prescient impairment
The most typical types of imaginative and prescient impairment are errors of refraction — the way in which gentle rays are targeted inside the attention so pictures could be transmitted to the mind.
Nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism are examples of refractive issues and sometimes happen when the eyes are in any other case wholesome.
Refractive errors are correctable often with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgical procedure, akin to LASIK.