June 14, 2024

The Daily Vendor

Nigeria Digital Newspaper

We’re committed to a nation where citizens are needlessly blind – NOA

3 min read

The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) has reiterated its commitment to a country where the citizenry is needlessly blind.

President, Dr Chimeziri Anderson stated this in Awka, Amambra State at the National Delegates Congress and Glaucoma Summit themed, “Glaucoma, The Silent Thief Of Sight”

He however regretted that many Nigerians, especially those at the grassroots still suffer blindness through trauma, injuries and application of harmful traditional eye medications.

He said, “According to international report, 80% of blindness are avoidable as most of them depend on life choices of diets and poor health seeking behaviors. 

“Many visit hospital hospitals and patronize quacks only when their cases degenerate. The most important aspect of tackling this menace is prevention, reason we emphasize more on health promotion to avoid the decease.

“Our association is committed to a country where no one is needlessly blind. Regrettably, many, especially those in the rural areas experience blindness through trauma, injuries and application of harmful traditional eye medications.

“Our duty is to keep on educating them to shun those practices to save them from becoming blind occassioned by those risk factors. We also educate people on difference between glocoma and cataract.”

The NOA boss further disclosed that glaucoma was more prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, more in Nigeria and more in the Southeast.

His words, “Globally, glaucoma is more prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, more in Nigeria, and in Nigeria, more among the Igbo. So being of Igbo ethnicity makes you a glaucoma risk patient. 

“In Abia State for example, you find out that one out of two or three adults have glaucoma. It’s an ongoing study which can be attributed to genes that is more disposed to the ailment. 

“The study is targeted at locating and finding the cure to the gene therapy. If you’re of black origin or Igbo man or woman, always ask for glocoma check.

“We’re also relaunching our school health outreaches where we distribute free glasses to children after sreening. This year, we’re targeting 10milion children across Nigeria.

“We’re partnering with various donor agencies to compliment federal government’s efforts in the area of school feeding programme to ensure adequate feeding for children which also affects their visuals. 

“We’re also unveiling and launching our maiden newsletter “Eye Connect” to reach out to our increasing members for authentic information.  

“In Anambra, we target screening over 1000 glocoma patients, give them treatment and make referrals for those with manifest glocoma to hospitals and health centres for proper management.”

While urging Optometrists to see the project as opportunity to give back to the society what God has blessed them with, Chimeziri called on philanthropists, government agencies and international donor agencies to support the association to achieve its goals.

He called on Anambra State governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo to declare free eye check for children in the state, even as he requested for employment of more Optometrists at the primary level with adequate remunerations.

“Anambra is the only state that has so far placed optometry where it belongs. We have Head of Optometry in the state Ministry of Health. We appreciate the recognition and importance the state has placed on eye health.

“We’ve been given a status in the state. This is different from what is obtainable in other states where the optometrist cadre is under Director of Medical Services. Other states are now emulating Anambra.

“Governor Soludo is among personalities we’ll be conferring award to during the Summit for his outstanding performance, especially in the area of security, health and infrastructural development,” Chimeziri added.

Earlier, Chairman NOA Anambra State, Dr Chidiebere Ezeanowai simplified risk factors of Glaucoma using the acronym: Generational, Low blood pressure, African heritage, Untreated eye trauma, corticosteroids, old age above 50, More eye fluid than needed and Ametropia.

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