80 Percent of Blindness Are Preventable-Experts

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…As Me Cure offers free eye screening to the public

As Nigerians joined the rest of the world in celebrating the 2017 World Sight Day (WSD), a global event that focused on drawing attention to the burden of blindness and visual impairment, which holds every second Thursday of October in the year, eye care professionals have disclosed that 80 percent of eye blindness across the globe are preventable and avoidable.

Speaking with newsmen at the Free Eye Screening Programme organized for the public by Me Cure Healthcare Limited, Lagos, to mark this year World Sight Day at its Eye Centre, Lagos, Dr. Adegboyega Alabi , a consultant ophthalmologist and chief operating officer, Me­ Cure Eye Centre, said the screening was aimed at promoting good eye health and help in the reduction of the burden of avoidable blindness through early detection of common eye conditions,  that causes avoidable blindness as well as supporting the vision 2020 goal to reduce the burden of blindness globally.

The ophthalmologist said the annual event provides an opportunity for citizens to become more aware and more committed to ensuring the right to sight for all, adding that the theme for this year event “Make Vision Count”, was meant to enlighten the people on the importance of good eye sight and bringing to the fore, the challenge of blindness and visual impairment.

Dr. Adegboyega Alabi

Speaking further, the expert explained that igno­rance had led most people to total blindness while some are being ostracized for an ailment that could be treated. “We discov­ered that a lot of people are not aware that there is a proper and standard treatment for cataract, so we see people be­ing blind from cataract for several years and they are just kept in one room some­where, ostracised from the community, while they suffer alone and sometimes, when they come to us we will wonder why they presented late and they will tell us they have been afflicted with it for four to five years, in other word, they have wasted four to five years of their lives.”

He, however, added that about 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness, saying of these figure, 39 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment. He further added that 90 per cent of blind people are in developing world such as Nigeria and Africa at large which brings the importance of celebrating the world sight day to cre­ate awareness and providing free eye test for the general public.

Speaking in the same vein, Dr. Kunle Megbuwawon, head, Strategies and Commercial Services and head, Family Medicine Unit, Me Cure Healthcare Limited, said the eye conditions screened during the exercise included cataract, glaucoma, refractive error, diabetic retinopathy, allergy and others, adding that over 100 individuals were screened during the program with a significant number of eye diseases identified.

According to him, Me Cure Healthcare Limited is a socially responsible organization that is aiming not only at providing service but also make sure that people are well informed and are aware that some conditions are preventable, saying the aim was to increase the lifespan of Nigerians by doing more of promotive and preventive healthcare. Dr. Kunle said.

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