Fireside Chats with Dr Mary #40 – By Dr Mary Ugalahi

Ngozi, a mother of a healthy, active one-year old girl sat on the floor watching her daughter play. Her daughter Anita celebrated her first birthday the previous day and it was such a wonderful time for her family.

The cake was a gift from Chinazo, her sister. It was a lovely fruit cake and everyone who ate it said it was delicious. Ngozi’s heart was full of gratitude for all that happened to her family in the past year. She remembered the year’s worries, doubts and uncertainties about her daughter’s future. As she watched Anita, she recalled everything that had happened. She had had an easy pregnancy and delivered a healthy, 2.5kg baby girl. But when Anita was three months old, she observed that she had difficulty opening her eyes in bright light. Whenever she took her outside, tears would keep streaming down her cheeks. She also remembered observing that her eyes were quite big, but she never thought that it was anything to worry about.

By the time she turned four months, Anita’s eyes had changed colour! The black parts of both eyes were turning white. It was at that point that she became alarmed and called her colleague whose sister is a doctor. She was advised to take the baby to an eye hospital.

“Heeding that advice was the best decision she had ever made”, she mused.

On examination at the hospital by a child eye specialist, she was given a name for what Anita had – Congenital Glaucoma (high pressures in her eyes).

The doctor was very compassionate and ensured that she understood every step of the care plan. She remembered reading about congenital glaucoma on the internet and learning that it could lead to blindness. That scared her so much, but the doctor’s explanations comforted her. He told her that with good care, her pretty baby would remain sighted.

Anita had surgery at the age of five months. Last week at the clinic, the doctor said she was doing great. She sincerely believed this as she watched her daughter playing.

Do you know that glaucoma can occur in children? Congenital Glaucoma is one of the causes of childhood blindness. Here are some important facts about it:

  • It is potentially blinding
  • Early recognition, intervention and follow-up are key to a good outcome
  • If a child is tearing excessively, intolerant to bright light or has big or cloudy eyes, that child needs to see an eye doctor urgently

Prevent blindness in childhood. Ensure a productive adulthood

#BeAware #BeProactive #VisionMatters #WGW #WorldGlaucomaWeek #Glaucoma

Dr Mary Ugalahi 2020

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