By Richard Olumide Oyefeso
The eyes are the window into a man’s soul. They are also our door into humanity. But what happens when sight is lost or impaired? Disaster happens as anguish replaces vision. Worry, desperation and misery engulfs the soul. But it need not be so, if only we could nip things in the bud and pay more attention to caring for our eyes just as much we care for what goes into our mouth.
According to eye care experts, the common ocular diseases worldwide are cataract, glaucoma, conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, uveitis, refractive errors, pterygium. Other eye diseases include trachoma, onchocerciasis, xerophthalmia and ocular malignancies.
The pattern of ocular diseases varyin different parts of the world, influenced by racial, geographic, socioeconomic and cultural factors. For many folks in sub-Sahara Africa, the possibility of losing their sight is a real prospect. Already contending with the perils of underdevelopment and poverty, the continent is unfortunately the worst hit by the myriad of eye ailments and diseases.
Studies have shown that several conditions, namely, cataract, refractive errors/low vision, trachoma, onchocerciasis, and vitamin A deficiency/other causes of childhood blindness were indicatively responsible for 75% of all blindness worldwide. Thankfully, these are treatable and preventable causes of blindness.
A recent personal experience revealed the depth of ocular morbidity and the pent-up demand for eye care services in Nigeria. I was reflecting recently about my incredible good fortune to have discovered that I had Glaucoma before it was too late. The fact that I could have easily lost my vision is truly humbling, and I shiver to think of what the full ramifications of that could have been for my life.
I also recall coming to terms with the reality that many are walking the streets all over the country, totally oblivious that their sight was leaving them. Statistically, over 10 million…