At pre-launch of World Sight DAY 2021: 227,920 Ghanaians blind, 329,560 have severe visual impairment, 579,040 with moderate impairment

A total of 227,920 Ghanaians are blind, a survey conducted this year by Ghana Health Service (GHS) hasdisclosed.

According to the statistics, 54.8per cent of the blindness was caused by Cataract, while 19.4per cent was due toGlaucoma with 12.3per cent caused by post segment diseases like diabetes and 11.2per cent from Cornea- related diseases.

Speaking at the pre-launch of the World Sight Day 2021 Press briefing in Accra yesterday, the Head of Eye Care Unit of GHS, Dr James Addy explained that out of the 30,800,000 population 329,560 Ghanaians had severe visual impairment while 579,040 had moderate impairment.

He indicated that the cause of low visionlike refractive error was44.4per cent, cataract related problems 42.2per cent, while 13.4per cent low vision was caused by other related issues.

Dr Addy noted that some of the causes of blindness were avoidable, and called on Ghanaians to do regular screening to detect eye problems at their early stage.

He stated that global statistics revealed that 1.1billion people globally were living with vision loss.

“That includes 91million children-our future-who live with vision loss. 90 million children around the world have vision loss as they don’t have access to eye care services. 165 children need glasses,” Dr Addy added.

He observed that the use of glasses could reduce the odds of children failing in class by 44per cent, and urged parent whose children were not performing in class to conduct eye test on their kids.

Dr Addy noted that children with vision loss were 2.5 times likely to be in formal education, adding that “women are 12per cent more likely to have vision loss than men.”

That he said was due to hormonal changes, how they were frequently exposed to trauma and the use of cosmetics like eye lashes, and how they live longer than men.

Touching on the steps taken by the GHS to curb the issue, Dr Addy said his outfit in 2018 launched National Cataract outreach programme in Koforidua, while they also launched “Ghana beyond cataract blindness” campaign.

He said in 2021 free cataract surgeries were conducted for residents in some regions, including Eastern, Western, Volta and Upper West.

On his part, Dr Anthony Ofosu Adofo, the Deputy Director-General, GHS stated that much effort should be geared towards prevention and protection of eye.

He reiterated the need for Ghanaians to adopt healthy lifestyles by cutting down smoking, maintaining normal blood sugar, pressure and cholesterol level, while wearing eye protective, like sunglasses and other lenses when exposed to screens and the sun.

World Sight Day is an international day of awareness creation held annually on the second Thursday of October, to focus attention on Global Eye Health.

This year’s celebration would fall on October 14 and it would be celebrated on  the theme “Love Your Eyes.”

BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE

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