The World Health Organization, WHO, has revealed that about 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness with even more bound to worsen the record.
The blood chilling revelation was dropped by Chairman of the Imo State chapter of Nigerian Optometric Association, NOA, Dr. Martin Ohiri, during a press briefing on the programmes of the 2015 World Sight Day with the theme, “Universal Eye Health” held in Owerri.
Ohiri hinted that a study by the World body showed that out of the total, 39 million people are blind while 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment.
In the home front, the chief optometrist of the state, further disclosed that the Nigerian National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey conducted from 2009 to 2007, showed that an estimated 1,130,000 Nigerians aged 40 and above are currently blind.
He said that the WHO report equally showed that an about 19 million children are visually impaired while 90 per cent of blind people live are in the low income countries.
The association’s chairman attributed the increase in the prevalence of cases of the visually impaired and blind in the rural setting to the high cost of eye care services and its limited availability to only those in the urban areas.
According to him, to reverse the ugly situation, the International Agency For Prevention of Blindness has called for serious focus on everybody who needs eye care services with a view to eliminating avoidable but possible causes of blindness.
He appealed to networth individuals, corporate bodies and government at all levels to be more proactive and intensify intervention in tackling this situation adding that at least one primary eye care centre in each local government area across the nation as to provide basic eye care services on a permanent basis in villages and the rural areas.

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