Despite losing his eyesight, Moses Chiira is still hanging onto the hope that one day he will command the radio waves in Kenya.
He is barely a-month-old at the Kenya Institute of Professional Studies (KIPS) in Nairobi and the only visually impaired student in the journalism class.
Moses believes he will graduate and grow his career as a continuity radio presenter, a dream he’s harboured from his childhood days.
After clearing from high school, Moses opted to study graphic design since his mother could not afford to pay for a journalism degree course.
He chose to work as a graphic designer in Nakuru hoping that he would later secure a job that would support and enable him to realize his dream career as a radio journalist.
However, the challenge came in 2016 when he lost his sight after a botched surgery meant to correct his left eye which had been affected by glaucoma a medical condition he had been treating since 1995.
“By 2015, glaucoma had already messed up my right eye. My doctors decided to do the surgery that might have saved my left eye so that I don't lose it also. In the process, they messed it all.
“The sight loss happened early in 2016. I had a surgery done on me in December 2015 and in the process, it ended up scarring my retina and this impaired my direct vision,” recalls Moses.
Growing up, Moses suffered from glaucoma, a condition characterised by gradual sight loss.
Moses recalls that; “By the time I was losing sight, I was working in Nakuru as a graphic designer and that’s when I realised I was straining when doing my designs. I could not do the editing well and I decided to go back to the hospital and explained to my doctor all that was happening.”
Glaucoma had taken a serious toll on his eyes. The condition forced him to quit the job as he could not see and capture graphic edges well when editing. He thought a surgery to save his other eye was the best option as had been suggested by his doctor.
“I had been going for clinics all along, after explaining to the doctors they ran tests and told me my sight was deteriorating by the day, they recommended a surgery and them being the doctors, I said yes,” disclosed Moses.
Before finding a place at KIPS, colleges and universities could not take him. On several attempts, he was told there were no facilities to offer him the desired training.
“I had been looking for a school to study radio journalism but I wasn’t very successful because of the fact that I am visually impaired. But I found a friend who linked me up with KIPS and the school has even offered me a sponsorship for the coursework,” says Moses in delight.
According to Mater Hospital's Dr Victor Ng'ani, glaucoma is a group of conditions that cause damage to nerves in the eye resulting in progressive loss of vision.
The condition is often, but not always related to increased pressure in the eyes.
"Glaucoma can affect all age groups. Those with siblings affected by glaucoma and women are at greater risk but it can not be transmitted from one person to the other," notes Dr Ng'ani.
He further guides that the disease can be caused by a combination of factors such as increased pressure in the eyes and abnormalities in the nerves responsible for vision.
"One can be born with these factors or can acquire them after birth. Acquired glaucoma can result from diabetes, eye infections, use of steroid medication, trauma to the eye and internal eye bleeding," says Ng'ani.
Ng'ani warns that glaucoma may progress quickly or slowly depending on the cause and the patient.
In the case of sow progress, the signs might be suppressed until the visual loss is experienced.
"Usually, one may see shadows or the sharpness of their vision may go down. Later, sight loss progresses to the central areas of the eyes and may hinder direct vision in affected persons," guides Dr. Ng'ani.
In the event you have some pain in the eyes or have shadows in your eyesight, Dr Ng'ani advises that you should seek urgent medical attention to help doctors initiate attention to your condition.
Glaucoma can be tackled by medications that lower pressure in the eyes as well as surgical procedures similar to what had been intended for Moses Chiira.