This was made known by the Nigerian Optometric Association president, Dr. Damian Echendu at a briefing to herald the association’s 39th Annual General Meeting and conference.
Over 90 million Nigerians could go blind by 2020 if stringent measures are not taken to guard against this.
It was made known by the Nigerian Optometric Association president, Dr. Damian Echendu at a briefing to herald the association’s 39th Annual General Meeting and conference.
A survey by the Federal Ministry of Health shows that over one million Nigerians above age 40 are currently blind.
According to Dr Echendu most of said cases were infact avoidable and most affected were above 40 years of age. He added that if actions are not taken to prevent the avoidable causes of blindness, the number might double by 2020.
“Blindness is more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty, lack of basic amenities and insensitivity of government towards health care workers are among the main causes of blindness in sub-Saharan Africa.”
He therefore called on the government to set up optometry departments in state and federal ministries of health and other tertiary health care institutions in the country.
Echendu said the Nigerian economy was losing productivity on account of the avoidable blindness, adding that "Nigerian-trained optometrists are positioned and ready to provide the professional services needed to enhance and protect the vision and health of the public."
He also expressed concern over the near absence of employment opportunities for optometrists in public health care facilities and institutions in the country.
Furthermore, he blamed the lack of research and non-implementation of internship training programmes in public health facilities on lack of funding by the government.