Over 200,000 Ghanaians are completely blind – GHS

Over 200,000 Ghanaians representing 7.4 per cent of the population are completely blind, the Ghana Health Service has said

Similarly, the visual impairment prevalence in Ghana presently is 1.07 per cent, an indication that about the same number of Ghanaians are suffering from some kind of eye illness and may go blind completely if actions are not taken.

In all these statistics, the leading cause of blindness in Ghana is Cataract as 54 per cent of the population representing 111,888 people are blind as a result of the disease.

Dr. James Addy, head of the eye care unit at the GHS made this known in Accra on Thursday during a ceremony to observe World Eyes Sight Day.

The event

The event organised by the GHS and Kog Kriations Network awarded about six institutions and five individuals for their contributions to eyecare in Ghana.

Some institutions awarded include Eye Foundation of America, Spintex chemist, Sights Savers and Friends eye center.

Outreach programmes

Dr. Addy noted that it was estimated that there are about 285 million visually impaired persons in the world, out of which 39 million are completely blind and 246 million have low vision.

He said the Ghana Health Service has begun a national cataract surgery outreach programs to perform free cataract service for the public in an attempt to address the issue.

The GHS and the Ghana Education service, he said, have also instituted a school screening program to ensure that pupils and students have good eye sight for good performances.

Dr. James Addy said the cost of the loss of an eye sight cannot be priced as it affects the work, social and economic life of a person.

Dr Samuel Kaba, Head of Institutional Care at the Ghana Health Service said 80 per cent of all causes of visual impairment were preventable.

He observed that approximately, one in four people in Africa begin to experience natural sight difficulty from age 40, hence the need for regular eye checks.

“The eye is the window into the soul, it feeds our soul and allow us to visibly communicate with out environment, we must therefore protect our eyes to be productive,” he said.

By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey