Celebrating the World Sight Day, Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria has said that cataract is the major cause of blindness in Nigeria, and at least 144,000 Nigerians are blind for different reasons in the country.
General Secretary, Ophthalmology Society of Nigeria, Dr Yinka Ologunsua speaking at the 2018 World Sight Day on Thursday at State Hospital, Ring Road, Ibadan, where 70 free cataract surgeries and 600 persons benefited from free eye care.
It was organised by Ophthalmology Society of Nigeria, South West zone in collaboration with Lions Club International, Nigerian Optometry Association and others.
Dr Ologunsua stated that blindness is increasing at an alarming rate in Nigeria due to increasing cases of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
Although many cases of blindness are preventable, Ologunsua, also the Vice-chairman, Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (Oyo State branch) added that the triple factor of poverty, ignorance and illiteracy was contributing to the incidence of blindness in Nigeria.
According to Dr Ologunsua, “WHO expects that health care should be accessible, affordable and of right quality but when somebody does not even know that what he should do, where he should go or cannot afford the care, definitely, eye problems will continue to increase.”
The skewed distribution of Nigeria’s 450 Ophthalmologists and lack the right tools and environment for eye healthcare specialists to work, he said is important to ensure eye care everywhere as the 2018 World sight day theme stated.
Past district governor, Lion’s club international, Dr Adeyinka Griffin, stated that 80 per cent of all blindness is preventable, adding that prevention of poor sight and blindness is far better than cure.
Dr Griffin, saying that blindness is a challenge to every age, said Nigerians should check their blood sugar and pressures regularly to prevent them leading to blindness.
Chairman, Oyo State Hospital Management Board, Dr Goke Adeyemo declaring the celebration open, declared Oyo State government’s resolve to prevent all preventable blindness in the state, adding that the blindness has both economic and psychological implications.
Dr Adeyemo, therefore, urged for increased support for the government in providing eye care services, given that many eye problems are treatable.