2021 World Sight Day marked with call to “Love Your Eyes”

By Henrietta Afful

More than a billion people across the globe cannot see properly because they do not have access to eye glasses. Most of them have preventable vision impairment however, most of these issues go unaddressed.

Poor eyesight or lost vision could hamper several activities of a person’s life ranging from daily chores to community interaction and work opportunities.

Conditions such as refractive error in the eye, diabetes, cataract and glaucoma have been listed as some diseases that can lead to reduced eyesight in humans.

On the occasion of World Sight Day, marked every second Thursday of October, Experts are calling for global action to prevent blindness with a call to love your eyes.

Broadcast Journalist with GBC, Selasie Sikanku

Speaking on the ‘Breakfast Show’ on GTV today, a visually impaired Broadcast Journalist with GBC, Selasie Sikanku said the celebration is to highlight the importance of sight especially for people who have the privilege to see.

He said the Day is also to commend those with visual impairment for the challenges they endure.

 

“Most of the time, when we are doing things, those with sight think we are doing some magic and things. So, it is to congratulate us for doing our day-to-day activities” Selasie said.

Dr. Emefa Titiati, Optometrist with Permeff Eye Care,

For her part, an Optometrist with Permeff Eye Care, Dr. Emefa Titiati, said Ghana is ranked two on the global index of Glaucoma-related causes of visual impairments and called for regular eye checks as ninety per cent of eye-related issues are reversible.

 

World Sight Day is observed annually on the second Thursday of October to create awareness on vision impairment and blindness.

The global event was instituted by the UN to draw attention to vision impairment and blindness. It was originally initiated by the Sight First Campaign of Lions Club International Foundation in 2020.

This year’s celebration which falls on 14th October, 2021 is on the theme “Love Your Eyes”.

On this Day, advocates intimate that there is a need to spread the message of ‘Hope’. It is also to highlight the achievements to date and advocate increased attention towards eye care.

Ghana’s Celebration

At a pre-launch of World Sight Day in Accra, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) revealed that 227,920 Ghanaians are blind. 54.8 percent of the blindness was caused by Cataract, while 19.4 percent was due Glaucoma with 12.3 percent caused by post segment diseases like diabetes and 11.2 percent from Cornea-related diseases.

Speaking at the programme, Head of the Eye Care Unit of the GHS, Dr. James Addy explained that out of the 30,800,00 population, 329,560 Ghanaians have severe visual impairment while 579,040 have moderate impairment.

On steps being taken by the Ghana Health Service, to curb cataract blindness, Dr Addy said in 2018 the GHS launched the National Cataract Outreach programme in Koforidua in the Eastern Region. He said a programme dubbed the Ghana Beyond Cataract Blindness Campaign has also been launched.

As part of activities to mark this year’s celebration, free cataract surgeries have been conducted for some residents in the Eastern, Western, Volta, Central and Upper East Regions of Ghana.

In Cape Coast in the Central region, 230 cataract, fully and partially blind persons who benefitted from the free cataract surgeries have recovered.

Below is the full video of the interview;

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