THE primacy of the eye as an indispensable organ in the body cannot be over-emphasised. If you are in doubt, close your eyes for ten seconds and in that brief period, try to walk around or carry out an activity. The result is better imagined. This explains why the eyes are referred to as the light of the body. Therefore, if the eyes are impaired, the whole body sits in darkness. No one deserves to be without sight or vision.
Globally, research has shown that the prevalence of blindness is five-fold higher in poor countries than rich countries. It is also estimated that about 285 million people are vision-impaired globally, with up to 80 per cent of these cases of impairment due to treatable or preventable causes. Worse still is the fact that over 90 per cent of these people live in low and middle income countries, and proportionately more in Africa. In general, the most remote and poorest areas of low-income countries have the least access to eye care services.
Visual disability impacts negatively on an individual’s quality of life and their functionality and has implications on the national economy as epitomised by the fact that income and livelihood are affected, as well as access to basic services such as education, healthcare, nutrition and development.
Blindness is most likely to interfere with an individual’s life goals such as achieving material wealth, social status and planning for the future. In view of the socioeconomic significance of blindness which often results in the loss of man-hours to the Nigerian economy, concrete and urgent steps are required to remedy the situation.
- Smart Adekunle,