Calabar — A consultant ophthalmologist at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Dr. Bassey Etim, has said that there are an estimated 1.13 million Nigerians from 40 years and above that are currently blind.
Etim stated this in Calabar, Cross River State, at a training workshop on ‘Low Vision’ for optometrists, ophthalmologists and ophthalmic nurses organised by the National Eye Health Programme in conjunction with the International Centre for Eyecare Education.
According to him, out of the figure, the North-West geo-political zone has the highest number of blind adults (28.6 per cent), being the zone with the largest population.
He also said that about 2.7 million adults were estimated to have moderate visual impairment with an additional 400, 000 persons being severely visually impaired, thus bringing to a total of 4.25 million adults in Nigeria that are either visually impaired or blind.
The ophthalmologist described low vision as a condition of diminished vision which is uncorrectable by standard glasses, contact lens, medication or surgery, adding that it disrupts a person’s ability to perform common age appropriate visual tasks.
According to him, in Nigeria, untreated cataract is the commonest cause of low vision and blindness, stressing that 84 per cent of visual impairment in Nigeria was either preventable or had treatable causes.