• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Loss of vision costs the world $411billion annually – Ophthamologists

Loss of vision costs the world $411billion annually – Ophthamologists

The Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN) has said that loss of vision alone costs the world a whopping sum of $411 billion annually.

Afekhide Ernest Omoti, chairman of National Eye Health Committee, gave the figure in his speech at the opening ceremony of the 46th annual general meeting and scientific conference of the society in Benin City.

The conference has in its theme, ‘Building Sustainable Eye Health Systems and Equity in Eye Health.’

Omoti also disclosed that the figure had shown that with successful cataract surgery, the income bracket of 46 percent of households had moved up the ladder, thereby helping to eliminate the zero-hunger enshrined in Sustainable Development Goals 1.

He added that the vision was important in the socio-economic development of human beings.

“Eye health has been enshrined as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Evidence has shown that individuals with impaired vision have difficulty with performance of daily tasks, inability to fend for themselves, thus lowering their productivity and consequently reducing their contribution to economic growth of the nation.

“Furthermore, It has been established that the avoidance of blindness is key to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1; no poverty),” he said.

According to Omoti, “Globally, the human resources for eye health (HrEH) which the ophthalmologist is the leader, is key to the achievement of these goals and also in ensuring that no one is needlessly blind especially in Nigeria and the globe at large.

Read also: FG unveils policy to tackle worsening burden of eye diseases

“The OSN has the potential to reduce avoidable blindness which would ultimately lead to an increase in the GDP and further enhance the economic growth of this great nation, thereby creating a country where there is no poverty with zero hunger.

“This will ultimately be the key driver in ensuring that no one is left behind in terms of eye care services. This is the commitment that is being demanded from the members of this noble profession today.”

The professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Benin, also disclosed that Nigeria and other member states at the United Nations General Assembly recently adopted the vision for everyone; accelerating action to achieve the sustainable development goals resolution, aimed at committing the international community to eye health for the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss by 2030.

He explained that the conference would help strengthen and support the existing eye health system framework already being put in place by the government as well as ensure that there is no barrier in accessing eye care services within the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

In his speech, Abiola Oyeleye, president, Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria, called on members to take advantage of the conference to reunite, fellowship and learn from friends and colleagues in other parts of the country.

Abiola expressed the optimism that at the end of the conference members and all stakeholders would be rejuvenated and ready to translate knowledge gained into action that would improve their patients’ care.

He said that following the launch of the national eye health policy, the conference would give members the opportunity to understand and be in the forefront of implementing the necessary changes in the eye care industry.