Cataract remains leading cause of blindness in Solomon Islands

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BY LYNTON AARON FILIA

Members of the public come for the eye test

CATARACT remains the leading cause of visual impairment in Solomon Islands. This is despite progress made in surgical techniques at the Regional Eye Centre.

The National Referral Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr John Hue said, the country’s top causes for blindness and visual impairment is cataracts.

He said, “The top causes of blindness and visual impairment in the Solomon Islands in the age group of 40 years and above are cataracts meaning clouding of the natural lens in the eye.

Hue also adds, “Another leading causes are refractive errors means need of glasses and diabetes which cause blood vessels to leak and bleed in the eye causing.”

He said as a result it will cause poor vision and blindness and eye infection and injuries also cause visual loss but such are largely treatable.

Meanwhile, the key message for preventing blindness and visual impairment are;

  • If you are having visual difficulties please visit an eye clinic near you
  • If you 40 years of age and above, have an eye check to see if you need reading glasses
  • All people living with diabetes must have yearly eye checks
  • Keep your eyes clean
  • Do not apply custom medicine to your eyes
  • Have regular eye checks at your nearest eye clinic

According to the World Health Organization, people who at risk for blindness begins at aged 50 and above.

WHO also stated that 81 percent of all people who are blind or have moderate to severe vision impairment are aged 50 years and above.

With an increasing population of older people, WHO stated that more people will be at risk of vision impairment due to chronic eye diseases.

Meanwhile, as part WHO’s Action Plan 2014—2019, number of regional workshops were conducted to enable member states shared lessons learned and monitor progress against the action plan.

In addition, WHO is currently developing a World report on vision, which is expected to be launched towards the end of 2018.

Other priority areas of work include the prevention and management of diabetic retinopathy and the building of human resource capacities for eye care.

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