AS THE Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA), Anambra State Chapter joins optometrists across the state to mark World Sight Day (WSD) 2020, Nigerians have been enjoined to obey all public health control measures and guidelines in preventing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to our reporter at J. Ropheka Eye Clinic, Nkpor, the NOA, Anambra State Chapter Chairman, Dr. Chigozie Umeh, stressed that the reason WSD 2020 event was held at low key was because COVID- 19 pandemic is real, adding that the eye is one of the gate ways one could be infected with coronavirus.
Dr. Umeh revealed that recent research proved that 2.2 billion people globally were either blind or visually impaired, saying that more than 50 per cent of them need glasses to see.
He said that 75 per cent of visual problems were avoidable but resulted due to carelessness, self medication, patronising quacks and phobia that seeking eye treatment at proper medical facilities may be expensive.
“WSD is an international day of awareness on avoidable blindness and visual impairment, held annually on the second Thursday of October. The theme of WSD 2020 is Universal Eye Health, the call for action is ‘Hope in Sight’.
“This year, optometrists in Nigeria are focusing action to raise public awareness on eye care in COVID-19 pandemic, as a major public health issue. COVID-19 is real and people should obey all preventive measures.
“Do not touch your eyes or face with unwashed hands. Use a clean face shield in addition to a clean and properly won face mask when in public places. Do not share your eyeglasses, face shield or masks with others.
“COVID-19 should not stop you from seeking eye care as your eye doctor has put safety measures in place. Report any redness of eyes to the nearest eye clinic to you”, said Umeh.
Moreover, Dr. Umeh commended Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State for approving three facilities where graduate optometrists could be engaged for internship in the state.
However, he called on government to engage the services of more Optometrists at the Primary Health care centers (PHCs) in rural areas saying that it would save cost for patients who travel to urban areas to seek eye treatment.
Other activities to mark WSD in Anambra include health talk and presentation using zoom, advocacy to government,ministries of health and other stakeholders, awareness using various media.