The problem of visual impairment is one of the biggest issues plaguing sub-Saharan Africa. This is an issue that is affecting more than 5% of the population despite easy solutions being available.
This has been primarily because of a lack of awareness about the common avoidable causes of eye diseases and ignorance of non-blindness causing ailments.
There are a number of ailments where basic eye surgeries can provide corrective measures and healing. This, however, due to a number of reasons, financial and otherwise, continues to be ignored.
The country has a population of over 53.5 million people, and the country has the prevalence of 5 of the most common neglected tropical diseases. These include trachoma, river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis (snail fever) and soil-transmitted helminths (worms).
Over and above these, cataracts are a huge reason for people losing their sight in this country. Other common eye diseases like glaucoma and refractive errors also make up for a huge percentage of eye ailments. There are a large number of avoidable blindness cases in the country, suffering simply because of lack of information and direct access to resources. Keeping eyes healthy is very important.
These are factors that the Regency Medical Centre actively works to correct. Over and above this we also provide a range of solutions for all the major eye ailments prevalent in the country.
Here are some of the most common eye ailments and their eye surgeries :
These is one of the most common eye ailment treated in the country. There are a few types of cataracts that can affect an individual. In some cases cataracts can even affect children.
Cataracts are so common that about 90% of people are expected to suffer from them at some point in their lives. While these are considered to be a part of the natural aging process, cataracts are also closely associated with other diseases like diabetes.
The symptoms of this disease include – cloudy vision, poor night vision, double vision, glare from bright lights, and cloudy film over natural lens.
Solution: A cataract surgery is the simplest and most accessible solution for cataracts. There is, however, a cost factor to it, like most medical procedures. The surgery uses an ultrasonic hand-held device which emulsifies and/or sculpts the cataract while a pump aspirates. This procedure usually requires an overnight stay at the hospital and is virtually painless.
This is one of the most commonly occurring eye ailment in the region. It is also known as the sneak thief of sight considering the insidious manner in which it steals away the sight of an individual.
Glaucoma refers to a combination of conditions that lead to the loss of sight. It is caused by the clear liquid called aqueous humor that flows in and out of the eye. If the flow is blocked or misdirected it can cause an increase in pressure which can result in this disease. It causes an increase in intraocular pressure and damages the optic nerve.
Solution: The first solution for this ailment are eye drops, a secondary solution for the same is surgery. Surgical intervention in the form of eye surgery works best in reducing increased intraocular pressure. Beta blockers may also be prescribed for this procedure. There are a number of procedures to treat this disease and are dependent upon the discretion of the physician.
There are a number of deformities that are possible with the eye like refractive issues or squints. These can lead to problems in sight, blurry vision, problems with depth perception among a variety of others. These can be caused due to congenital defects, injuries, aging, or even tumors. These can change the structure of the eye and even lead to loss of vision in dire cases.
Solution: There are a range of oculoplastic surgeries that can correct the eye related deformities. These surgeries hardly take time and are painless, usually performed under a local or in rare cases, general, anesthetic. They can correct droopy eyelids, squints, tear duct obstructions, etc.
4. Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is a naturally progressive eye condition that affects people over the age of 65 years. This involves the breakdown of the macula or the middle part of the retina. This is something that can be intensified due to lifestyle choices like smoking, problematic dietary habits, and obesity. In this ailment waste deposits are formed on the retina, which stops the flow of nutrients into the cells. This can lead to cell death and progressive deterioration of vision.
Solution: There are a number of procedures that can help prevent macular degeneration. This includes surgically implanting a telescope in the lens. Injection therapy can also be used to work out the issues arising due to macular degeneration.
5. Paediatric Eye Ailments
Children born with cataracts or deformities related to vision need immediate and direct attention to help avoid problems in the future. The main issue with paediatric eye issues is the identification of the problem in order to provide immediate care. Paediatric eye surgeries have become a field unto themselves and is something that is crucial to the health of infants in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. Regency Medical Centre prides itself on the quality of paediatric eye health care that we provide.
Solution: Children born with cataracts figure largely in the paediatric eye ailments diagnosed in Tanzania. The best solution for these ailments is surgical intervention. If done promptly it can prevent children from losing sight completely. The catch here is to diagnose the ailment in a timely fashion, diagnostic tools are usually not available for people in rural areas and for those facing financial issues, which makes it difficult for treatment to reach them in time.
6. Refractive Errors
Common refractive errors can result in grave debilitating issues for those with more severe conditions and can even cause serious headaches and other issues. Diagnosis is the most important issue in this ailment.
Solution: A comprehensive eye exam will inform the doctor about the extent of the issue on hand. Depending upon this glasses or lenses may be prescribed to the patient. In some cases, lasik is also prescribed depending upon the severity of the condition.
There are a number of eye ailments plaguing the nation, most of which are easily arrested if a proper diagnosis is available. At Regency Medical Centre we make sure that we provide our patients the highest standards of care in eye surgery and diagnosis. This is the least we can do in an effort to create a healthier Tanzania.