100 health professionals trained eye screening

One hundred nurses and midwives have participated in a national eye screening project, in Kumasi.

It aimed at screening and treating children with eye diseases, especially retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye.

The training was organised under the auspices of the Rotary Club of Accra –La East District, in partnership with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and the University of Ghana Medical School.

The project was being funded by the Rotary Club of Accra La East, Rotary Club of Detmold Blumberg in Germany and Rotary International. Participants were also taught how to use Arc Light, a device for examining eyes of children, for early detection of disease and treatment.

According to Dr James Addy, Head of Eye Care Unit of the GHS, children would be screened for eye diseases, but much focus would be given to retinoblastoma.

He said the project would help improve the survival rate of children with retinoblastoma because it was treatable, manageable and curable when detected early.

Dr Addy said after the screening, eye problems identified would be referred to tertiary health facilities for free treatment.

Prof. Vera A. Essuman, children’s eye specialist at the University of Ghana Medical School, said that the first clue and most obvious symptom of retinoblastoma “is that, the eye does not look right, specifically, the black pupil may look white.”

In a photo, instead of “red eye,” a child with retinoblastoma will have one pupil that glows white when light shines on it, she said. 

Prof.Essuman asked parents to take their children to hospital for early detection of eye diseases.

“Eye screening is an effective tool, which can be used to identify disease and conditions of the eye on time. Most eye illness do not cause any pain to the eye, hence the late presentation of eye problems,” she said.

Mr Melvin Iddrisu,a Rotarian with Accra La East, said the project was part of the group’s contributions to improve eye care in Ghana.

“We have observed that eye care is limited in Ghana. Currently, there are just about 70 ophthalmologists serving a population of about 31 million, and the attention on children with eye diseases is limited,” he said.

Mr Iddrisu said the eye screening and treatment for children under the project was free adding that “Rotary is bearing every cost and the budget allocated will be able to serve the purpose.”

According to MrIddrisu, about 2,000 Arc Lights have been imported into the country to be issued to nurses and midwives. 


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