No fewer than 1 billion persons worldwide are affected with Presbyopia(eye disorder), Dr Tochukwu Onwuzulike, an eye care specialist, has said.
Onwuzulike, an Optometrist with Vision Spring, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), disclosed this on Friday in Abuja at the inauguration of free eye care exercise at Apo resettlement, FCT.
Presbyopia is an eye condition in which the eye slowly loses the ability to focus quickly on objects that are close up.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the free eye care exercise was organised by Eye Care Aid Foundation, Vision Spring, with the support of Act Foundation.
Onwuzulike, who is also a business development specialist, said that among the 1 billion affected people, no fewer than 500 million were visually impaired because they lacked access to reading glasses.
He said that the NGOs were concern that no fewer than 2 million Nigerians were visually impaired.
The optometrist said that such figure was scary and that it was a huge problem that needed to be tackled on time.
The eye specialist urged people to imbibe the habit of taking care of the eyes and going for test when necessary.
“This occasion is highly significant because it deals with a very big and global problem which is eye care; Eye care has been found to be instrumental to productivity, eye care boost people’s livelihood.
“Eye care boosts the quality of life and even to a large extent, mental health; it is very crucial for us to address the eye care needs of millions of Nigerians.
“Presbyopia is a global problem; all over the world, about a billion people are affected with presbyopia; among these 1 billion people, no fewer than 500 million are visually impaired all because they lack access to reading glasses.
“It is a very good thing that the Act foundation, Eye Care Aid Foundation and Vision Spring have come together with the support of Abuja Municipal Area Council(AMAC) and health authority of the FCT to come to carry out this screening.
“We are determined to see that 20, 000 persons are screened of their eyes and distribution of10, 000 glasses absolutely free in the FCT,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Adesuwa Agbontaen, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Eye Care Aid Foundation, said that the project was going to run until June 2024, and would go round all the communities in the FCT.
“Today we are flaging-off our project, Eye Care Aid project for resident of FCT, giving eye care services, eye test and giving them free reading glasses, we are doing this for 20, 000 persons in the FCT.
“Our mandate is to distribute 10,000 glasses; we are going to run this project up till June 2024; we are going round all the communities in the FCT, from one place to another.
“Eye problem will not show up but until you see the doctor before you will know you have certain problem; if you don’t see doctors, you won’t notice certain eye problem, certain eye problem are hidden.
“We are creating awareness with this exercise; we know that world sight day is coming up on Oct.12; this exercise is also to commemorate vision care for that day, and also to talk about eye care issues,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Mr Emeka Mbanusi, Head of Information and Public Relations, AMAC, thanked the organisers of the eye screening exercise, adding that AMAC was only partnering to give them direction with regards to where to carry out the exercise in the FCT.
He said that the AMAC Chairman, Mr Christopher Maikalañgu, had done so much for the residents of the area council in terms of medical care both for children, mothers and the elderly ones.
Mbanusi said AMAC was paying counterpart funding for polio eradication and other routine immunisation in order to ensure that children under five years received treatment.
According to him, AMAC has done free medical care in many communities in FCT where it gives malaria drugs free of charge, and albendazole to deworm children.