PHOTO: IGIHE.com

Eye care practitioners under the umbrella of Nigerian Optometrists Association (NOA), Ogun State Chapter, yesterday stormed the streets of Abeokuta with its awareness road walk to mark this year’s World Sight Day.

The awareness trek, which began from the Kuto Cultural Centre, took the group across MKO Abiola Stadium and Southwest Resource Centre, Oke Masan and back to Kuto Cultural Centre.

Earlier, a collaborative lecture held on World Sight Day and the International White Canwick Day involving NOA, National Association for the Blind (NAB) Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Ogun State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

Prior to the day, the NOA had carried out free eye screening for primary school children at RCM Primary School, Agosasa in Ikpokia Local Council and Owu Baptist Primary School, Abeokuta.

The highpoint of the screening was the training of teachers to enable them to detect visual acuity of the pupils and identify visual defects.Eye care practitioners observed the day across the world yesterday, while the NOA was at the forefront of making the international event memorable.

It is an international awareness programme held annually on October 12 to focus on issues of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. The theme of this year’s celebration is Universal Eye Health, The Call for Action To Make Vision Count.

The NOA chose to focus on children’s vision in line with the World Health Organisation’s Action Plan (2014-2019) to reduce visual impairment by 25 per cent.The message of the event was a wakeup call to government to act, as it was revealed that 19 million children around the world have visual impairment, of which 12 million are due to refractive error.

It was also revealed that one in every four children has an undetected vision problem, while an estimated 500,000 children become blind every year due to avoidable causes that are amenable to cost effective interventions.

The NOA advised that early screening and detection of visual problems can reduce the risk of blindness and implored parents to prevent their children’s eye from injury and avoid self-medication.

The Ogun State NOA chairperson, Aina Odion-Akhaine, said data on children’s vision generated from this year’s World Sight Day screening across the country would be made available to government to enable it plan for children’s vision.