Yesterday, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) did a pre-launch of the celebration of World Sight Day, an international event annually held on the second Thursday of October to call attention to eye health.
This means the day falls on October 14, this year.
The GHS indicated at the pre-launch in Accra that it had conducted a survey on eye health this year and found that 227, 920 Ghanaians are blind.
The statistics show that the blindness is caused by cataract, glaucoma, post-segment diseases like diabetes and cornea-related diseases.
The Head of the Eye Care Unit of GHS, Dr James Addy, said at the event that out of the country’s population of 30.8 million, 329,560 had severe visual impairment while 579,040 had moderate one.
This translates into 3 percent of the population having visual impairment, which is far higher than the global prevalence of 0.63 percent captured last year based on the fact that out of the global population of 7.79 billion, 49.1 were suffering visual impairment.
The statistics put out by the GHS is scary (read our story on page ), including the fact that even children are not spared by blindness.
The GHS has given examples of the causes of visual challenges, maintaining that some of them are avoidable and so Ghanaians should do regular screening to detect eye problems at their early stage.
The Ghanaian Times knows there are eye services across the country but the truth is that not many people receive such services because of lack of money, lack of knowledge of where to get the services, proximity problems and refusal to go for them because people do not take eye health seriously.
Launching 100 days to this year’s World Sight Day and a campaign to record one million sight tests in the lead-up to the day, Peter Holland, the Chief Executive Officer of the International Agency for Prevention ofBlindness, said on July 6 that “Almost everyone on the planet will experience an eye health issue in their lifetime, yet more than a billion people worldwide do not have access to eye care services.
This statement is significant and so the Eye Care Unit of the GHS should strategise to get every Ghanaian value his or her sight and seek treatment for related problems because of the importance of the eyes to the individual and the society.
This paper believes that it is better to be born blind than go blind after seeing for a long time and now have to learn to cope with your new state.
Let us all agree with the Greek philosopher Aristotle that “we prefer seeing to everything else.” Yes, even though the loss of the other senses will be disastrous, losing the sight would be worse.
Blindness restricts movement, denies you the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of things and encumbers you in many things you do, including learning as you have to acquire gadgets to help you.
The theme for this year’s World Sight Day is ‘Love Your Eyes’, so let us all love our eyes for their role in our own individual good life and in national development.