Ophthalmology Society of Nigeria (OSN), South-West zone says blindness and visual impairment are major public health issues in Oyo State, with 65,000 of blindness due to cataract.
According to Tribune, the Secretary-General, Ophthalmology Society of Nigeria (OSN), Dr Yinka Ologunsua, in a press release jointly signed by Dr Yemi Adewole, to mark the 2020 World Sight Day Committee in South-Western Nigeria, said of the 1.47 per cent of blind people in Oyo State, 58 per cent of these were needlessly blindness due to cataract.
Ologunsua, a consultant ophthalmologist, declared that a large number of people are blind or living with poor sight partly due to the cost of surgery, distance to the hospital and lack of adequate eye care facilities (including specialists) at the secondary level of care in the state.
According to him, major causes of visual impairment and blindness are cataract, glaucoma, trachoma, onchocerciasis, refractive error, diabetic retinopathy while childhood blindness is linked to measles, vitamin A deficiency, traditional medications and poor access to specialist services.
Dr Ologunsua stated that all over the world, more than 75 per cent of all blindness and moderate or severe visual impairment is readily treatable or preventable, with cataract and Uncorrected Refractive Error account for almost three quarters (74.4 per cent) of all these.
The eye expert stated that every year as part of the World sight day, eye experts come together to perform free cataract surgery to both adults and children as well as planning to install Vision Corridors in strategic locations around Oyo State to assess the people’s vision and to sensitize those in need of eye care.
“Most recently, we operated 103 eyes with cataract at no cost to the patients in addition to the free medical outreach with drugs and reading glasses. We were planning to do the remaining cataract surgeries at Sepeteri UCH Outreach Centre and Ring Road to raise the number above 250 before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak,” he added.
He, however, said that reversing this ugly trend will require that at least 16,000 cataract surgeries are done per year.