Nigeria is among the ten most populated countries in the world. Despite its size there had been no earlier national estimate of the prevalence and causes of blindness and visual impairment before the Nigeria national blindness and visual impairment survey which was conducted between 2005 and 2007.
For the first time, scientifically valid data are available for the entire country providing the epidemiological evidence and data needed for eye care planning, priority setting, advocacy and for measuring the impact of service delivery in Nigeria. The data also contribute towards the global
database of blindness, which is being used for global planning, advocacy, resource mobilization, and to monitor VISION 2020
Findings revealed that 1.13 million individuals aged 40 years are currently blind in Nigeria, as a further 2.7 million adults aged 40 years are estimated to have moderate visual impairment. An additional 400,000 adults are severely visually impaired, while 4.25 million adults aged 40 years are visually impaired or blind.
Against this background, the Oyo East Local Government in collaboration with the Eye Clinic, Iseyin, an arm of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, both in Oyo State, recently organized a two-day Free Eye Screening, Testing and Surgeries for over one thousand residents in Oyo town. BODE DUROJAIYE reports
The programme held at the Oba Adeyemi Hospital, Durbar, Oyo town, witnessed large turn-out of residents, mostly adults and the aged. In his address, caretaker Chairman of the Local Government, Mr. Abiodun Sarafadeen Adebayo, said eyes are an important part of human health.
He stated that most people rely on their eyes to see and make sense of the world around them, adding that but some eye diseases can lead to
vision loss, hence the importance of identifying and treating eye diseases as early as possible.
This, Adebayo noted brought about decision of the local government in sensitising, and assisting the impoverished ones on various eye problems being encountered with. According to him, ‘we should get our eyes checked as often as our
health care provider recommends it, or if we have any new vision problems. Just as it is important to keep our body healthy, we should also need to keep our eyes healthy’’.
In an interview with reporters, the Administrator and Matron of Eye Clinic located in Iseyin, Reverend Sister Lucia Akinnusoye, submitted that everyone needs to have their eyesight tested to check for vision and eye problems. Children usually have vision screening in school or at their health care provider’s office during a checkup, adding that adults may also get vision screenings during their checkups. ‘’ But many adults need more than a vision screening.
They need a comprehensive dilated eye examination. Getting comprehensive dilated eye exams is especially important because some eye diseases may not have warning signs. The exams are the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages, when they are easier to treat. The exam includes several tests: A visual field test to measure your side (peripheral) vision.
A loss of peripheral vision may be a sign of glaucoma. A visual acuity test, where you read an eye chart about 20 feet away, to check on how well you see at various distances ‘’. ‘’If you have a refractive error and are going to need glasses or contacts, then you will also have a refraction test. When you have this test, you look through a device that has lenses of different strengths to help your eye care professional figure out which lenses will give you the clearest vision’’. Akinnusoye asserted that ‘’at what age one should start getting these exams and how often one need them depends on many factors. They
include age, race, and overall health’’.
On the way out of eye diseases, the expert counseled thus, ‘’ there are things you can do to help keep your eyes healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. These include, eating of a healthy, balanceddiet, maintain a healthy weight, get regular exercise, wearing of sun glasses, wearing of protective eye wear, avoid smoking, knowing of one’s family health history, and knowing of other risk factors’’.
Said she, ‘’as you get older, you are at higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions. It is important to know you risk factors because you may be able to lower your risk by changing some behaviors. If you wear contacts, take steps to prevent eye infections. Wash your hands well before pyou put in or take out your contact lenses.
Also follow the instructions on how to properly clean them, and replace them when needed. Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time using a computer, you can forget to blink your eyes and your eyes can get tired. To reduce eyestrain, try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds’’.