Tuesday, 7 October 2014

'One Million Nigerian Adults areBlind'

Information released by the Lagos branch of the Nigerian Optometric Association suggests that over one million Nigerian adults are blind, while additional three millions are visually impaired.

The revelation is coming ahead of the 2014 World Sight Day, which is usually celebrated every second Thursday of October. In this year’s commemoration which falls on October 9, the NOP is joining the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (which is an alliance of civil society organizations, corporate and professional bodies promoting eye health through advocacy, knowledge and partnerships) and other national agencies to mark this year’s “Sight Day.”

According to the chairperson of the association, Dr. Ogechi Nwokedi, there will be a rally at the Ojodu Retail Market to sensitise the public to the need to care for their eyes.
She said, “We will be organizing a rally at a market; that is the Ojodu Retail Market to sensitize the public to the need to care for the eyes. We have a continuing education programme the next day, October 10.”

Nwokedi told our Correspondent that this year’s celebration had been set aside worldwide to re-sensitize the public to the avoidable blindness and what they could do individually to prevent blindness.

As stated in a survey of blindness and low vision, which was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Health and supported by the non-governmental organization, Sightsavers, which focuses on blindness and visual impairment prevention and correction, 42 out every 100 adults aged 40 and above are were suffering from visual impairment.

“Overall, two out of three Nigerians are blind from causes which could be avoided, such as cataract, which is the single commonest cause of blindness,” the report noted.

The Country Representative of the NGO, Dr. Elizabeth Elhassan, said concerning the growing rate of blindness in the country, “Nigerians now account for one in five Africans and the survey indicates the growing and urgent need to increase access to eye care as well as the importance of reaching people who are illiterate.”

According to Sightsavers, the survey has helped in treating low vision, and in some cases, restoring lost sight.
“As a direct result of the survey, over 3,500 cataract operations were performed, 5, 800 pairs of reading glasses dispensed, more than 200 pairs of aphakic glasses (for people who are missing a lens in their eye) distributed at no cost and thousands with minor ailments were treated,” the NGO said.

  - Daily Times