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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 402739, 6 pages
Review Article

Epidemiological Properties of Primary Open Angle Glaucoma in Nigeria

Department of Ophthalmology, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Bayero University, PMB 3452, Kano, Nigeria

Received 28 February 2013; Revised 17 April 2013; Accepted 22 April 2013

Academic Editor: Huseyin Gursoy

Copyright © 2013 Lawan Abdu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) is progressive chronic optic neuropathy in adults in which intraocular pressure (IOP) and other currently unknown factors contribute to damage. POAG is the second commonest cause of avoidable blindness in Nigeria. Pattern of Presentation. POAG is characterized by late presentation. Absence of pain which is a driving force for seeking medical help, inadequacy of trained eye care personnel, paucity of facilities, misdistribution of resources, lack of awareness, poor education, and poverty may all contribute to this. Medical and surgical treatment options available are challenging and tasking. Screening for Glaucoma. Screening is the presumptive identification of unrecognized disease (POAG) by applying test(s) which can be applied rapidly. Such test(s) should be of high reliability, validity, yield, acceptable, and cost effective. The test should ideally be sensitive, specific, and efficient. It is difficult to select a suitable test that meets these criteria. Intraocular pressure (IOP) appears to be the easiest option. But, high IOP is not diagnostic nor does normal value exclude the disease. Health education is a possible strategy in early case detection and management. Treatment of POAG. Glaucoma treatment can either be medical or surgical (this includes laser). Considering unavailability, potency, cost, and long-term effects of medication, surgery (trabeculectomy) could be a better option. Laser trabeculoplasty is available in a few centers. Viscocanalostomy is not routinely performed. Patient education is vital to success as management is for life. Conclusion. POAG remains a cause of avoidable blindness in Nigeria. There is need for long-term strategy to identify patients early and institute prompt management. Improvement in training of eye care personnel and provision of up to date equipment is essential in achieving this goal.