Protecting the most sensitive human organs – My eyes, my vision

Protecting the most sensitive human organs - My eyes, my vision
The Human Eye

Naa Anyorkor is in her 40s and has been wearing medicated spectacles for over 30 years to help take care of her refractive error, which was identified when she was in primary school following a series of complaints of not seeing well in class, coupled with having to sit close to the television.

Scenario

In the early 90s, her parents agreed that she needed some medical help, due to the unavailability of many eye clinics, she and her cousin and aunty had to leave home at dawn to queue to access care at the Eye Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

That era saw both the young and old wearing medicated spectacles with cords attached to prevent breakage, as the lens came only in the form of glasses, this has however evolved into plastic fashionable ones with lots of stylish frames and optical lenses types ranging from, tinted, photochromic, bifocal, trifocal, and progressive, among others.

Naa reminisced that “Those were the days when wearing big frames was fun, my friends, mates, and even seniors saw those of us wearing medicated spectacles as ësharksí whose eyes had been affected because of learning, some also referred to us as Dadaba child of the affluent in society.”

The Eye

According to medicinenet.com, the eye is the organ of sight, which has a number of components including; the cornea that transmits and focuses light into the eyes, the iris, which is the coloured part that helps regulate the amount of light that enters.

Other components are the pupils, the dark aperture in the iris that determines how much light is let into the eye. The lens on the other hand is the transparent structure inside the eye that focuses light rays onto the retina, and is the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, senses light, and creates electrical impulses that travel through the optic nerve to the brain.

GNA-GOA: My Eyes! My Vision! Initiative

This is a collaborative campaign initiative between the - Regional Office, and the Ghana Optometric Association (GOA), to draw the attention of the public and people in authority to vision health.

The initiative seeks to challenge the public and policy-makers to focus on vision as a health issue as even though it forms a critical component of human wellbeing, it is often neglected until complications set in.

The initiative, according to the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Dr Remi Ninkpe, National President of GOA is a timely intervention to promote visual health in Ghana, as it will touch on the various aspect of eye care in its sensitization weekly discussion.

For him the importance of eye health cannot be overemphasized as ìsome say the eyes are the windows to the soul, some also say that next to death, what they fear most is losing their eyesight.î

Vision Statistics (World Report on Vision)

The ís (WHO), 2019 world report on vision indicates that vision is the most dominant of human senses, and plays a critical role in every facet and stage of life.

ìWe take vision for granted, but without vision, we struggle to learn to walk, to read, to participate in school, and to work,î he quoted from the report.

He said vision impairment occurs when an eye condition affects the visual system and one or more of its vision functions. Vision impairment has serious consequences for the individual across the life course.

Globally, according to the WHO report, at least 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment or blindness, of whom at least one billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.

The burden of eye conditions and vision impairment is not borne equally. The burden tends to be greater in low and middle-income countries and underserved populations, such as women, migrants, indigenous peoples, persons with certain kinds of disabilities, and in rural communities.

Population growth and ageing, along with behavioural and lifestyle changes, and urbanization, will dramatically increase the number of people with eye conditions, vision impairment and blindness in the coming decades.

While the exact number is unknown, it is estimated that 11.9 million people globally have moderate or severe vision impairment or blindness due to glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and trachoma that could have been prevented.

Ghana blindness and visual impairment study

The Ghana blindness and visual impairment study carried out in 2015 showed that 0.74 per cent of Ghanaians were blind, while 1.07 per cent had severe visual impairment.

A large proportion of those with low vision specifically 88.9 per cent and 67.7 per cent of blindness are due to avoidable causes.

Major causes of severe visual impairment in Ghana are a refractive error which is up to 44.4 per cent, and 42.2 per cent cataract-related, while other identified causes are posterior segment, glaucoma, and cornea opacity.

Why join the campaign?

The above data globally and locally is an indication that there is a need for more education to be carried out on eye-related issues.

Getting the right information on health-related issues including; eye care is non-negotiable, therefore the need to empower oneself with the needed knowledge to prevent slipping into blindness and low vision while help is available is probably right in your neighbourhood.

Have you ever received a piece of advice to drop a few breastmilk on the eyes due to some discomfort?

Does eating palm oil really provide excellent vision? What about those glues our ladies apply on their eyelids to fix artificial eyelashes to beautify themselves, can it have an effect on the sight?

Did your friend pass you without saying hi, with an excuse of not seeing you, could that be a possibility of eye-related issues?

Eiii is it really true that ëpilesí grows on our eyes and we can clear it with some bottles of concoctions from miracle medicine sellers in the trotros and buses?

Have you seen the latest trend of tattooing the eye, as a fashionista are you considering having one to show off, well, have you considered how safe it is and the impact it will have on your sight?

To have answers to these and many more join the GNA-GOA weekly sessions on My Eyes My Vision to help protect your eyes as experts say most eye conditions and blindness are preventable when detected early.

GNA-GOA: My Eyes! My Vision initiative was jointly launched by DSP Dr Ninkpe, GOA National President and medical officers at the Police Hospital in ; and Mr Albert Kofi Owusu, GNA General Manager.

Others were; Mr Francis Ameyibor, GNA-Tema Regional Manager; Dr Kwame Obeng-Nyarko, Chief Executive Officer, Third Eye Care, and Vision Centre; and Dr Alfred Gardemor, medical officer Government Hospital and GOA Public Relations Officer jointly perform the official launch.

The launch was chaired by Reverend Emmanuel Kwesi Ofori, Minister in Charge Central Assemblies of God Church, Tema Community Four who is also a Government Appointee, Tema Metropolitan Assembly.

Mr Kofi Owusu, General Manager of the Ghana News Agency advised journalists to use their profession to impact society for accelerated national development; “your position as a journalist is an important opportunity and platform to impact positively on society through your writings”.

He said “Journalism has offered you the opportunity to impact on your community and country grab it and make the best out of it, speak for the vulnerable, let society benefit from your profession”.

He said “Journalists are highly respected as they know a lot about every sector, health, industry, environment, agriculture, and business, among others. So donít limit yourself, open yourself to possibilities and read a lot to acquire knowledge”.

He commended the Ghana Optometric Association for the collaboration with the GNA-Tema Regional Office for the ìGNA-GOA: My Eyes! My Vision! Campaign.

Mr Ameyibor, explained that as part of ìGNA-GOA: My Eyes! My Vision! “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”.

Mr Ameyibor said the collaboration would serve as a major platform to educate the public on vision health and also serve as a critical stage for the association to reach out to the world.

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