Hope not lost for people with eye problems ― Oyo government
Oyo State government has assured that hope is not lost for people with eye problems, even as it said free eye care as part of its ongoing free health screening and medical outreach is to ensure cases of blindness and visual impairment are reduced in the state.
Oyo Health Commissioner, Dr Bashir Bello, who spoke at a media briefing to commemorate the 2020 World Sight Day at Oyo State Ministry of Health said its inclusion into the state’s ongoing free health screening and medical outreach was to ensure individuals enjoy good health.
Dr Bello, noting that eye health care was an integral part of universal health coverage, said last year 603 individuals had cataract surgeries, 5,000 received free eyeglasses while 500 patients were given free eye drugs through its collaboration with the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN) and other partners to achieve a reduction in the number of preventable blindness in the state.
The health commissioners discouraged individuals self-medicating when they have problems with their eyes and urged that everyone undergoes yearly eye tests to ensure early detection and treatment of conditions that cause blindness and visual impairment.
According to him, nobody should assume that they are immune to blindness and visual impairment, adding, “80 per cent of visually impaired who live in impoverished areas are affected by cataract and glaucoma, also 65 per cent of people with visual impairment are aged 50 years and above.”
Vice-Chairman, OSN, Oyo state branch, Dr Yinka Ologunsua declared 75 to 85 per cent of preventable blindness is due to cataracts in Nigeria, like other developing countries due to poverty, ignorance and illiteracy.
He stated that government alone cannot carry the burden of providing eye care services and urged an enabling environment for increased private sector involvement in preventing blindness in the country.
Dr Ologunsua canvassed for the inclusion of basic eye care services at the primary health care centres as well as vision window corridor in schools to improve access eye care services and early detection of eye problems in children.