The Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology

Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology:

Issue 6, November/December 2018 Review Article

The Current Status of Glaucoma and Glaucoma Care in Sub-Saharan Africa

Kyari, Fatima; Adekoya, Bola; Abdull, Mohammed Mahdi; Mohammed, Abdullahi Sadiq; Garba, Farouk

Author Information

From the *College of Health Sciences, Baze University, Abuja; †Lagos State University College of Medicine and Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos; ‡Department of Ophthalmology, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi; §Glaucoma Department, National Eye Centre, Kaduna and; ¶Department of Ophthalmology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.

Reprints: Fatima Kyari, College of Health Sciences, Baze University, Abuja, Nigeria.


Glaucoma is a serious and irreversibly blinding eye condition of public health importance in Africa. The absence of distinct early symptoms makes the condition hard to recognize by patients. The gradual vision deterioration that occurs is worse in one eye, thereby making it difficult for those affected to be aware of the vision loss until the advanced stages of the disease. We discuss the epidemiology of glaucoma in sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the risk factors for the disease as well as risk factors for blindness in glaucoma patients. Available evidence suggests that treatment options of medical, surgical, and laser therapies for glaucoma are limited by availability of medicines and equipment, lack of adequate surgical and diagnostic skills, and high costs of treatment. We propose 3 complementary strategies in developing models of glaucoma care: strengthening clinical services for glaucoma; earlier detection of glaucoma in the clinics and communities; and strengthening health systems governance. Further research to define a suitable cost-beneficial treatment modality and mechanisms for financing eye care is required.

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