Patients who are diagnosed with retinal detachment of the eye suffer physical and emotional trauma.

Besides late detection, there are few hospitals in Ghana with facilities to adequately manage the condition.

People in rural areas, in particular, have to travel long distances to seek medical care.

There is good news, especially, for infected persons in the northern sector as Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital acquires new equipment.

The Alcon constellation machine valued at 100,000 US dollars will also treat conditions of the vitreous humour.

It is supported by a team from Moran Eye Center, Salt Lake, and University of Utah.

“When you have retinal detachment, the retina isn’t working anymore so we have to re-attach the retina and keep it attached during the healing process and that gives the possibility of restoring vision.

“If it’s diabetes, there is bleeding in the eye and that obscures vision so we have to remove the blood to also restore vision,” said Dr Eric Hansen of the Moran Eye Center, University of Utah.

It is believed the new equipment will be able to treat retina-related eye conditions.

“In less than five days, we’ve done 14 major surgeries. These are complicated surgeries but we’re pleased with the results,” said optimistic Dr. Paul Bernstein of the Moran Eye Center, also of University of Utah.

Dr. Akwasi Ahmed

Farmer, Samuel Ahiable, is being attended to by Dr. Akwasi Ahmed, a Vitreo-retinal Surgeon at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

The 55-year-old has a condition known as retinal detachment.

“I was cutting a tree with chainsaw machine when one of the branches hit my eye.

After visiting a health facility to have the wound stitched, he was left with unbearable pain in the right eye.

“I can’t stand the sun, and I feel so much pain in the eyes.”

The retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue on the back wall of the eye.

Light is focused on the retina just like the film in a camera.

It converts the image into signals and sends them to the brain.

Occasionally, injury to the eye or head may cause a small tear in the retina.

The tear peels the retina away like a bubble in wallpaper and this result in the condition known as retinal detachment.

“Patients present with flashes floaters and it’s sudden,” said Dr. Akwasi Ahmed.

Other Symptoms of retinal detachment are slight feeling of heaviness in the eye and impression of veil or curtain over the field of vision.

It can also come with sudden appearance and sensation of straight lines appearing curved, and finally blindness.

A recent study in Nigeria revealed retinal detachment is a significant cause of blindness in Africa.

It could be caused by conditions like diabetes, hypertension and sickle cell.

Short-Sightedness is linked to 67 per cent of retinal detachment cases.

Detachment is more frequent in middle-aged or elderly population.

Delayed diagnosis and treatment may affect outcome of management. Surgery result is usually good if it is done early.

Under the Himalayan cataract project, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital has received equipment to treat all retinal ailments.