Eye surgeons begin training on UHAS Glaucoma treatment
Eye surgeons begin training on UHAS Glaucoma treatment

Persons suffering from glaucoma in Ghana now stand a better chance of not going blind.

This hope stems from a three-year hybrid training programme being run by the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) on glaucoma operation.

In Ghana, it is estimated that about 700,000 people are living with glaucoma and 60,000 have already gone permanently blind.

This is due to the lack of awareness, poor access to glaucoma eye drops and poor access to modern surgical interventions.


With supervision of the school of medicine of UHAS, and Dr. Alfred Osafo-Kwaako as the technical instructor, eye surgeons from various hospitals in the country have been admitted to be trained to perform the Minimally-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS).

Eye surgeons across Ghana begin training on UHAS Glaucoma treatment

With the MIGS, glaucoma patients no longer require the daily use of glaucoma eye drops.

“In MIGS, the surgeon creates a tiny channel on the eye to relieve the pressure in the eye. This makes the use of pressure- reducing eye drops unnecessary. It takes only about 10 minutes to complete the procedure. Unlike traditional glaucoma operations that have painful eye injections, MIGS does not require any eye injections,” UHAS stated.

The monthly training, which commenced in April will continuously be held in Accra, Agogo and Tamale until the 3-year-deadline.

Earlier attempts to train eye surgeons in Ghana for the UHAS glaucoma operation were unsuccessful due to challenges with logistics and the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Head of Ophthalmology at UHAS, Dr. Alfred Osafo-Kwaako, is relieved that the capacity building programme has commenced.

Dr Osafo-Kwaafo is also optimistic that the training of eye surgeons will progress at a steady pace to ensure the target of providing every hospital in the country with such service by 2030 materializes.

Eye surgeons across Ghana begin training on UHAS Glaucoma treatment

It has been eight years since the UHAS ophthalmology team started performing a Minimally-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery in Ghana, under the leadership of Dr Alfred Osafo-Kwaako.

Since 2014, Dr Osafo-Kwaako has been the only eye surgeon performing this procedure.

But now, there are more hands on deck as four trainees from Korle-Bu Hospital, Tamale Teaching Hospital, Manhyia Hospital and Asamang Hospital performed their first successful operations during the programme.

In view of this, he has encouraged the trainees to start delivering this service to glaucoma patients in their various hospitals.

Eye surgeons across Ghana begin training on UHAS Glaucoma treatment

Dr Osafo-Kwaako also thanked to the Vice-Chancellor of UHAS, Prof John Gyapong, Pro-vice Chancellor, Prof Harry Tagbor, and the Dean of the School of Medicine, Prof Frank Edwin, for their immense support.

“We also appreciate the material and logistic support of the proprietor of the Save the Nation Sight Eye Clinic, Dr Thomas Tontie Baah, as well as the encouraging support for the nationwide training programme by Dr Michael Gyasi, the immediate past president of the ophthalmological society of Ghana.

“I wish to thank all ophthalmic nurses, optometrists and ophthalmologists who have participated in the delivery of MIGS to patients in Ghana over the past 8 years,” he added.

Meanwhile, a number of trainees say the skills acquired will help shape how the country combats glaucoma.

Dr Gifty Adom of the Asamang SDA hospital who commended Dr Osafo-Kwaako for his remarkable efforts noted that she is now in a better position to help improve glaucoma care as most of her patients are unable to afford the high cost of glaucoma drugs.

One Dr Gilbert Bonsana of the Tamale Teaching Hospital indicated that the procedure will improve surgical outcomes and patient satisfaction.

After the Ghana training programme, UHAS plans to organise similar training programmes in other countries across the world.

In Ghana, eye surgeons participating in the training programme were admitted from Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Tamale Teaching Hospital, Cape Coast University Hospital, 37 Military Hospital.

The others include; Greater Accra Ridge Hospital, Emmanuel Eye Center, Tema Christian Eye Center, Trust Hospital, Agogo Presbyterian Hospital, Manhyia Hospital, Asamang SDA Hospital.

At present, this new treatment is available at the Ho Teaching Hospital and the Dr Rose Mompi Eye Hospital in Ve Kolenu, near Hohoe and their outreach camps in Kpando, Dzodze, Accra, Agona Swedru and Breman Asikuma.