The Ghana Optometric Association (GOA) has warned that not paying attention to the eyes could lead to total blindness and cause economic hardship for people and the country.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Dr. Remi Ninkpe, who is the GOA National President emphasized that everyone can lose their eyesight so, we all should endeavour to pay attention to our eyes and access eye care to ensure effective productivity.
He urged Ghanaians to take their visual health seriously, there is a need for people to access proper eye care, in order not to lose one’s sight or have problems with the sight.
The GOA National President explained that most people in Ghana have eye problems that can be solved but because of a lack of education on how to keep one's eyesight healthy, they do not access eye health care.
DSP Ninkpe who is also an Optometrist at the Police Hospital in Accra stated at the “GNA-GOA: My Eye! My Vision! The programme is a collaborative public education advocacy campaign between the Association and the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office to promote the need for people to access eye care and also to draw attention to vision health.
The event which was monitored by Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) revealed that GNA-GOA: My Eyes! My Vision! The initiative also seeks to challenge the public and policymakers to focus on vision as a health issue, which forms a critical component of mankind’s wellbeing but is often neglected.
DSP Ninkpe explained that the need for public education formed the foundation for the Ghana Optometric Association to partner with GNA to help Ghanaians understand the need to check their eyesight regularly.
He stressed that unlike a toothache or a stomach ache that as a result of the pain one attains to it immediately and rush you to the hospital, sometimes eye problems are not that hurtful that would ignite an urgent rush to the hospital, so most people turn to ignore challenges with the eyes.
Dr. Ninkpe stated if an eye problem is not discovered on time can disable an individual or can lead to permanent visual impairment.
He said that mostly in Africa, people do not take eye care seriously but rather think of what they will eat than eye care.
Dr. Ninkpe advised that people should get eye care to avoid visual impairment in the future which also affects society and the economy at large.
Dr. Kwame Oben-Nyarko, Chief Executive Officer, Third Eyecare and Vision Centre quoting from the World report on vision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) explained that eye conditions and vision impairment play a critical role in every facet and stage of our lives.
“We take vision for granted, but without vision, we struggle to learn to walk, to read, to participate in school, and to work,” he said.
Dr Oben-Nyarko explained that vision impairment occurs when an eye condition affects the visual system and one or more of its vision functions, which was collaborated by Dr Alfred Gardemor, GOA Public Relations Officer and Optometrist at Nsawam Government Hospital.
He said vision impairment has serious consequences for the individual across the life course; “many of these consequences can, however, be mitigated by timely access to quality eye care and rehabilitation.
“Eye conditions that can cause vision impairment and blindness – such as cataract, trachoma, and refractive error – are, for good reasons, the main focus of prevention and other eye care strategies; nevertheless, the importance of eye conditions that do not typically cause vision impairment – such as dry eye and conjunctivitis – must not be overlooked,” he said.
Dr. Oben-Nyarko explained that these conditions are frequently among the leading reasons for presentation to eye health care services in all countries and called for urgent attention to vision issues in the country.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, GNA-Tema Regional Manager explained that the two professional bodies have agreed to work together on a public sensitization campaign dubbed: “GNA-GOA: My Eyes! My Vision” to draw attention to vision health.
“We are combining the forces of our professional calling as Optometric Physicians and Communication Experts to reach out to the public with a well-coordinated message.
“We believe such collaboration would serve as a major platform to educate the public on vision health and also serves as a critical stage for the association to reach out to the world,” Mr. Ameyibor noted.