By Job Osazuwa
In celebrating its diamond anniversary, Ansar-Ud-Deen High School Old Students’ Association (AHOSA) has harped on healthy living among members and other Nigerians.
The threat of heavy rain could not stop the old students, who had trooped out in large numbers as early as 7am on March 27, from participating in a health walk.
Marching through major streets of Surulere and its environs in Lagos, accompanied with melodious sounds from live band, the members raised the school’s banner high for all to see that it was a special event.
The members, led by the anniversary chairman, organising committee and CEO, Ibeji Foundation, Alhaji Rafiu Adisa Ebiti, on February 12, converged on Central Mosque, Surulere, to thank Almighty Allah. And on March 18, other members, including AHOSA’s president, Mr. Rafiu Williams, embarked on humanitarian activities by visiting an old people’s home in Lagos, where food items and monetary gifts worth thousands of naira were distributed to the needy.
Done with the walk, they all gathered at the school’s premises to receive some health talks on how to care for their eyes, prevent glaucoma and diabetics, among others.
While educating members of the association, an ophthalmic nurse, Mrs. V.I. Agosu, defined glaucoma as a condition where the pressure of fluid within the eye gradually increases to a level not tolerated by the sensitive tissues of the eye.
She said: “The optic nerve, which is similar to a cable wire carrying visual images to the brain, is the portion of the eye susceptible to damage from glaucoma. Such damage is irreparable and visual loss due to glaucoma is irreversible.”
On the cause of glaucoma, she said, “There is a fluid-filled chamber in the front of the eye called the anterior chamber. It is filled with aqueous humor, which bathes and nourishes the tissues of the eye. If the drainage of this fluid is restricted for reasons yet unknown, pressure builds up within the eye, causing glaucoma.”
Agosu said glaucoma was one of the leading causes of blindness in Nigeria, at 3 per cent, and it is more predominant in persons over the age of 40. She stated that the disease may also occur in people of all ages, including newborns, and persons with myopia, diabetics, sickle cell disease, systemic hypertension and family history of glaucoma have increased risk of suffering glaucoma.
Identifying some symptoms of the disease, another ophthalmic nurse, Mrs. O.A. Akinbote, listed “pains around the eyes when coming out of darkness, coloured halo rings seen around light, hazy or blurred vision, severe eye and head pain, nausea or vomiting, sudden sight loss and sight recovery” as some of the early symptoms.
“In most cases of glaucoma, the patient is not aware of the gradual loss of sight until vision is significantly impaired. However, a simple test with a device called tonometer can help measure the pressure within the eye,” she said.
Akinbote recommended early diagnosis, saying that it served a better chance of arresting visual impairment.
Both Agosu and Akinbote stressed the importance of eating appropriate potions of a balanced diet, limiting intake of caffeine, avoiding sedentary lifestyles, quitting smoking and always sleeping for at least six hours at night.
The president charged students of the school to uphold the Ansar-Ud-Deen spirit, which is known for excellence, good values, distinction, philanthropy, and giving back to their soon-to-be alma mater.
Corroborating Williams’ position, a member of the association, Mrs. Kafayat Idowu, described the health experience as re-energizing.
“As you know, it was initiated to improve the members’ health. Some of us would wake up, eat, go to work, return, eat and sleep routinely, without any attention to exercising our body. And the medical screening is for members to establish their health status, because some of them are here, without even knowing that they are hypertensive or diabetic,” she said.
Lending her voice, one of the nurses on duty, also a member of AHOSA, assistant director of nursing services with the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Lateef Mary, said the medical rounds were focused on checking the blood pressure of members, screening members for diabetics, and glaucoma, some of the health issues prevalent in Nigeria today.
“I have seen some cases of hypertension this morning, and some of them were unaware that they were hypertensive, because it is a silent killer,” she said.