Federal ministry of Health says it has commenced the Primary eye care which it says is an integrated, participatory and inclusive eye health component of primary health care.
It says it will empower people to participate in taking responsibility for their eye health, preventing and treating conditions that may lead to visual loss as well as rehabilitate those who are already blind.
The acting Head National Eye Health Programme of the Ministry, Dr. Chimezie Obi-Mgbam disclosed this on Monday at a media brief in Abuja to highlight activities carried out during the World Sight Day held on October 14, 2021.
He said the ministry has trained 12 master trainers, 2 from each geopolitical zones adding that it is currently in the process of training Kogi state primary health care workers in the process of Primary Eye Care thus integrating the Primary Eye Care into the Primary Health Care.
He said the essence of Primary Eye Care is to ensure community participation in eye care so as to prevent avoidable blindness.
According to him, these blindness are mainly caused by cataracts, glaucoma, refractive errors, harmful traditional eye practices, corneal opacities, Neglected Tropical Diseases like trachoma and onchocerciasis.
Dr. Obi-Mgbam said the prevalence of blindness in Nigeria is 0.78 percent and 84% of these are avoidable but that available evidence indicates that low awareness and inaccessibility to appropriate eye services contribute to increased blindness in the country hence the need for the Primary Eye Care.
He has therefore highlighted four cardinal points on awareness creation to prevent blindness. Among which are prevention of blindness: through eating healthy diet and regular exercise, Protect your eyes from harsh UV rays with sunglasses and a 20-20-20 rule with looking at screens in which one is expected to look at screen for 20minutes, look away from screen for 20seconds at an object that is 20feet(6Meters) away.
Others are, encourage regular eye checks. Those below 40years, once in two years and those above 40years once in a year noting that those with eye problems should follow the advise of their eye health personnel.
And lastly pritorize your eyes by ensuring that eye exam is included as part of routine medical checks and encourage family and friends to do same so that everyone counts.
The world sight day is celebrated every second Thursday of October annually and it is a collaboration by the WHO and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) to create awareness for prevention of blindness with this year’s theme “love your eyes and let everyone count”.