Dr. Remy Ninkpe, the National President of the Ghana Optometric Association, has urged the government to make eye care a priority in government policies.
For the past few weeks, the state of eye care in the country has been under the microscope.
Generally, the number of people who voluntarily walk in to have their eyes checked have been very insignificant.
According to statistics put out by Dr Samuel Paa Kofi Tinagyei, an optometrist on the world eye sight day;
About 284 million people are visually impaired.
Of these, 39 million are blind.
And 245 million have moderate or severe visual impairment, YET 80% of blindness is avoidable.
90% of people with visual impairments live in developing countries.
Almost 65% of visually impaired people are over 50 years of age.
19 million children are visually impaired.
Today is WORLD SIGHT DAY, have you had your eyes checked recently?
He said this was necessary due to the globally increasing trend of eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and myopia, which could result in dire consequences.
Dr. Ninkpe, who was addressing the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Association in Ho, said a recent survey, showed that refractive errors, cataracts, and glaucoma obstructed the sights of some 200,000 Ghanaians, although 79 per cent of such complications were avoidable.
He said available eyeglasses in the country were capable of correcting defects for only 44 per cent, and said it was important for government functionaries to investigate the causes of failing eyesight, and place special emphasis on eye care, as the world “enters a new era of blindness and visual impairment”.
Dr. Ninkpe called for a resourced Health Service with increased activity in hard-to-reach areas, towards providing quality and affordable eye care services to the less privileged.
He said though there were over 300 trained optometrists and 500 optometric nurses in the country, uneven distribution of personnel had led to sparse coverage of quality eye care.
Dr. Ninkpe said the Volta region, for example, has eye centres in only 13 out of 25 districts, and said, “a nation that allows its people to go blind is in itself a blind nation.”
Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, encouraged Optometrists to continue to serve with love and form an Optometric Council to promote quality eye care services