Blindness and visual impairment high in Solomon Islands

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BY LYNTON AARON FILIA

Dr. John Hue presenting his speech during the World sight day.

IT is estimated that 6,000 Solomon Islanders are blind or visually impaired.

This was revealed by the National Referral Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr John Hue during the World Sight Day celebrated yesterday.

Hue said that an estimated 1 percent of the country’s population has blindness or are visually impaired.

“This means 6,000 people are blind or have visual impairment, and for some people this may all change with a pair of glasses”, Hue said.

On a global scale Hue said 36 million people are blind with 217 million have moderate or severe distance vision impairment with 55 percent of moderate or severely vision impaired people are women.

Within the figure, Hue said Solomon Islands are among the 89 percent who are visually impaired people living in low and middle income countries.

He said more than 75 percent of all blindness and visual impairment is avoidable.

“All it might need is a pair of glasses or a cataract surgery to restore vision and thus independence and an improved quality of life, but this is only detected if eye care services are available and sough after,” Dr Hue said.

Meanwhile, annually nations celebrated World Sight Day on October 11.

Benardetta Dickson who has scar in the eye from an accident at home in Malaita is assess by a nurse from the Regional Eye Centre Chillion Evan during the World Sight day yesterday. PHOTO BY BENZ NEWMAN.

Such a platform is initiated to encourage governments, corporations, institution and individuals to actively support global blindness prevention efforts.

Yesterday, the Regional Eye Centre in Solomon Islands celebrated World Sight Day under the theme: “Universal Eye Health” in-line with WHO’s Action Plan 2014—2019.

The call for action for this year is ‘Eye Care Everywhere’.

With this, the World Sight Day is calling on government, provincial hospitals, organizations, eye care workers and individuals to take steps towards the goal of having eye care accessible everywhere in Solomon Islands.

“The right to sight of each Solomon Islander is a priority that we cannot neglect,” Dr Hue said.

The World Sight Day is coordinated by the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

It is a focal advocacy event for IAPB and its members and partners which comprises of NGOs globally, professional bodies for ophthalmology and optometry, and teaching hospitals.

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