World Sight Day: Lagos Govt Offers Free Eye Screening, Surgery

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World Sight Day 2022 – Photo credit: Lagos State Ministry of Health

The Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMoH) through the Blindness Prevention Programme Unit, has conducted free eye screening, including provision of free eye glasses to people with refractive error, free drugs for minor eye disorders and free cataract surgery for restoration of vision, to residents of Ikorodu Local Government Area of the state.

The free eye treatment, which was organised in commemoration of World Sight Day 2022, usually celebrated on every 13 October, commenced on Wednesday 12 October, 2022 and will be concluded on Thursday 13 October, 2022, at the General Hospital Ikorodu.

Director of Medical Administration, Training and Programmes, LSMoH,  Dr Olufunmilayo Shokunbi, gave this hint on the occasion of the global event, with the theme “Love Your Eyes, Save Lives”, noting that the intervention will also be conducted at Badagry, Epe and Lagos Island at a soon to be announced date.

Speaking on activities put together to commemorate the day, Shokunbi said, “This strongly shows how much importance this present government has placed on eye care for the citizens of the state. The Ministry of Health is committed to implementing policies and programmes that will ultimately reduce and eliminate blindness amongst the citizenry”.

Speaking at a News Briefing heralding the Year 2022 World Sight Day commemoration in

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, while addressing journalists in a briefing heralding the day, explained that citizens should improve the health of their eyes by eating healthy diets, going for regular eye checks, protecting the eye from injury and trauma, avoid self-medication, avoid patronising quacks and wear sunglasses that offer UV protection to prevent radiation from the sun damaging the eyes.

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Other good eye healthcare practices according to him include, avoid playing with sharp objects, avoid instilling injurious substance into the eyes, avoid smoking, exercising regularly, visiting only certified ophthalmic eye hospital if you have eye complaints, wear only prescribed glasses from an eye care provider, checking and controlling blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

Abayomi noted that the need to create awareness and draw attention to eye health as a local and global health issue cannot be overemphasized, stressing that eye health impacts the quality of life, education, employment and all areas of life of an individual.

In his words: “There is so much to see in this beautiful world but this is only possible if your eyes are in good condition. The occasion of the year 2022 World Sight Day, presents another opportunity to remind us that we must all give attention to our vision and protect our eyes from blinding eye conditions; vision is what must come first and protecting eyesight is what is extremely important.

“The theme for this year’s World Sight Day, “Love Your Eyes, Save Lives”, is a reminder for everyone to love their eyes, protect it and give attention to their vision, to love your eyes is about being aware and maintaining your eye health”, He added.

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The commissioner disclosed that the state government will intensify its eye healthcare education, sensitisation and enlightenment campaigns especially in rural and riverine communities and hard to reach areas to raise the consciousness of citizens on blindness prevention and good eye care practices. This, he said, would be done employing methods used for community and rural outreaches.

“The objective of this kind of activity is to raise public awareness and public understanding around a public health issue, and the public health issue we are talking about now is the protection and maintenance of one of the most important senses that we have as human beings, which is the sense of visual, sight and more importantly, visual acuity.

“So, on occasions like this, we try to raise the importance of public health measures to protect and preserve accuracy of eyesight. The eyes are very delicate organ, they are actually an extension of your brain that comes out onto the surface of your face, and any slight injury or slight alteration of the environment, either by infection, trauma or the application of the wrong drugs or drops, can cause significant damage”, Abayomi stated.

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He noted that common diseases like sickle cells, high blood pressure and diabetes, if not detected early and treated by the medical professional, can affect the eyes and cause serious damage to the eyes.

“The statistics tell us that eight out of every ten impairment of sight is caused by conditions that can be easily prevented or, when they occur, can be treated. And so there are eight people out of every ten blind people that are walking around with lack of eyesight because they failed to have access to prevention or a treatment strategy. That is a very sad statistic.

“So as small as these eyes are, they are so important to our wellbeing and our state of mind and our happiness and loss of eyesight is one of the commonest causes of depression, because when you lose your sight or your sight is becoming impaired, you recognize how important that gift that you had of good sight is or has been. And so today, we join the rest of the world to raise the understanding and to bring to the attention of our citizens the importance of protecting your eyes and doing things that will stop you from losing visual accuracy and know the right places to go to receive significant intervention”, Abayomi said.

 

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