The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the alarm that approximately 285 million people Worldwide live with low vision and blindness.
According to the World body, of these, 39 million people are blind while 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment.
Chairman of the Nigerian optometric Association, Imo state Chapter, Dr. Martin Ohiri, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on programmes slated for the 2015 World Sight Day which had the theme “Universal Eye Health” held in Owerri.
Aside this, Ohiri said that the WHO had equally disclosed that an estimated 19 million children are visually impaired, just as 90% of blind people live in low income countries.
To remedy the ugly situation, he said that the International Agency For Prevention of Blindness had urged for serious focus on everybody who needs eye care services.
uoting the Nigerian National Blindness and Visual impairment Survey conducted from 2009 to 2007, Ohiri said that it was estimated that 1.130,000 individuals aged 40 and above were currently blind in the country.
“This is why a more proactive and intensive intervention approach should be used by governments, governmental and international agencies in tackling this scurvy situation,” he stressed.
He advised that multinationals and individuals should key into the call of action in eliminating avoidable causes of blindness which he said the only way to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) Global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness.
He further insisted that the federal and state governments and other related agencies should take bold steps to set up at least one primary eye care centre in each local government area across the nation as to provide basic eye care services on a permanent basis in villages and the rural areas.
Ohiri lamented that the high cost of eye care services and its availability only in the urban areas had caused an alarming increase in the prevalence of the visually impaired and blind in the rural areas.