Lagos State Government has once again lent its voice to the need for citizens to improve the health of their eyes by adopting good eye care practices and a healthy lifestyle as part of measures to prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss.
Speaking at a Press Briefing to herald the activities commemorating the Year 2022 World Sight Day in Lagos State, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi explained that citizens should improve the care of their eyes by eating healthy diets, going for regular eye checks, protecting the eyes from injury and trauma, avoiding self-medication, avoiding quacks and wearing sunglasses that offer UV protection to prevent radiation from the sun prone to damaging the eyes, among others.
Abayomi noted the need to create awareness and draw attention to the care of the eyes, which is a local and global health issue that cannot be overemphasised stressing how healthy the eyes are, impacts the quality of life of an individual.
In his words: “There is so much to see in this beautiful world but this is only possible if your eyes are in good condition. The occasion of the year 2022 World Sight Day, presents another opportunity to remind you that you must all give attention to your vision by protecting your eyesight, which is of extreme importance.
“The theme for this year’s World Sight Day: ‘Love Your Eyes, Save Lives’ is a reminder for everyone to love their eyes, protect them and give attention to their vision.”
The Commissioner disclosed that the State Government would intensify its eye healthcare education, sensitisation and enlightenment campaigns, especially in rural and riverine communities and hard-to-reach areas, to raise the consciousness of citizens on blindness prevention and good eye care practices. This, he said, would be done employing methods used for community and rural outreaches.
He noted that common diseases like sickle cell, high blood pressure and diabetes, if not detected early and treated by a medical professional, can affect and cause severe damage to the eyes.
The Commissioner explained that the Lagos State Government, in recognition of the importance of eye care, has continued to champion and implement programmes and policies aimed at blindness prevention and good sight for citizens.
He disclosed that the State Government through its Blindness Prevention Programme has screened over 600,000 people for eye defects, offered free eyeglasses to 240,000 citizens and provided free surgical intervention to 30,000 others across the state.
Speaking on activities put together to commemorate the day, the Director of Medical Administration, Training and Programmes, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olufunmilayo Shokunbi disclosed that aside from the press briefing which seeks to draw the attention of citizens to the need to take proper care of their eyes, the Ministry, through its Blindness Prevention Programme Unit, will also offer free eye screening including the provision of free eyeglasses to people with refractive error, free eye drugs for minor eye disorders and free cataract surgery for restoration of vision.
“This strongly shows how much importance this present government has placed on eye care for the citizens of the State. The Ministry of Health is committed to implementing policies and programmes that will ultimately reduce and eliminate blindness amongst the citizenry”, Shokunbi said.