World Sight Day: Experts Want Eye Clinics in Rural Areas

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate World Sight Day, a principal optometrist, Dr, Ufuoma Onwuka has appealed to government to establish eye clinics in all primary health care facilities across the country.

Dr. Onwuka made the appeal in Enugu, while speaking on activities marking the 2018 “World Sight Day” being put together by the Nigerian Optometric Association.

World Sight Day, observed annually on the second Thursday of October, is a global event meant to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment.

It was originally initiated by the sight first campaign of Lion’s Club International Foundation in 2000.

It has since been integrated into vision 2020 and is coordinated by International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

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Speaking on the event, Dr. Onwuka noted that establishment of eye clinics especially in rural areas will bring eye care services closer to the people.

She described vision impairment and blindness as major public health issues adding that the Nigerian Optometric Association was partnering the media and government to draw attention for vision 2020 “The Right to Sight Initiatives”.

“We are appealing to the government to see how primary health facilities can have eye clinic in the rural areas, but then it’s not like is so expensive what they could be talking about is may be the distance from where they stay in the village to the city, so we are trying to see how possible it will be to have such centres distributed all over the state and at least in each local government areas”.

She advised people to always seek professional services whenever they experience any eye related diseases.

“We want the public to take good care of their eyes, we want them to know that the eye is the window of the body, and without their eyes they can’t excel in whatever activities they are involved in”.

“So we are encouraging the public and advising them that whenever they have eyes issues, they should meet professionals, see their eye doctor and they not meet quacks doctor or buy drugs that are not prescribed”.

“We are trying to take eye care, even to the grassroots, we’ve discovered that the burden of the issues that has to do with the eye defects, is increasing.”

“High care everywhere is an initiative to take the information about taking good care of your eyes to people wherever they are, whether in the public, urban cities or in the rural areas”.

She said one of the major eye problem; glaucoma which causes blindness “doesn’t present with symptoms at the early stage, there are no pains, so the person might not really know”.

“So we encourage people to go for eye check at least once every year even if you have an eye problem or not”.

“ Submit yourself to eye care professionals, have your eyes thoroughly checked at least once every year, but if you have history of glaucoma in your family, then you have to present yourself more often for eye check because when it is detected early, it can be managed and blindness can be avoided”.

Also speaking, a member of the Nigerian Optometric Association, Efughi Uchechukwu enumerated activities lined up for this year’s  event slated for Thursday 11, to include free vision screening, road show, health talk as well as career counselling among others.

This year’s edition of World Sight Day has as theme; Universal Eye Health; A Call for Action is “Eye Care Everywhere”

“This year’s world sight day, will be collaborating with the media and the government, to make sure everything is in order”.

“To bring down eye services to people at a very cheap rate and to make sure that every health facilities in the state at least will have an optometrist to do everything that has to do with the eye in that centre”.

“Secondly, we will be organizing talk shows, career seminars, free eye screening, especially for the media and we will be having a road walk with road safety, and some of our drivers”.

“You know one of the major of accident is because the sight of the drivers are actually very bad, if you stay in the clinic you will notice that some of them walk in and you will notice that their Visual Accuracy is nothing less than 60 (sixty) so they are almost blind but they still drive”.

“But we will be collaborating with the road safety, have a road walk, talk to drivers, screen their sight, screen the sight of media representatives, just to make sure that they are okay”.

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