The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) revealed that 50 million persons that have some form of visual disability or the other, limiting their ability to work, learn or play; adding that nearly seven million Nigerians are blind.
The National President of the Nigerian Optometric Association, Dr Obinna Awiaka, stated this during a news conference on Wednesday ahead of its 45th National Conference and Vision Expo.
He stated that 80 percent of the causes of blindness and visual disabilities across the world are avoidable.
“Many people don’t do periodic eye examinations nor take preventive measures early, and in some cases, they choose to patronise quacks who, oftentimes, worsened their problems, thereby causing them to spend more money than they ought to.
“The massive brain drain of eye care professionals and other health care professionals from Nigeria to other countries has further worsened the burden of blindness statistics in the country, and this calls for urgent attention from all stakeholders if we do not hope to experience a blindness pandemic,” he said.
According to the president, the national conference with the theme, ‘Leveraging on partnerships to transform optometry and eye care in West Africa’, is an opportunity for experts and stakeholders to discuss issues concerning the profession, exchange ideas, knowledge, and skills, on how best to tackle challenges and promote the profession for the betterment of Nigerians.
He called on the government to urgently address the issues surrounding the plight of healthcare workers in Nigeria, to give the country a fighting chance to avoid the impending blindness epidemic. He added that eye care needs maximum attention.