Thursday, 9 October 2008 2:27 PM

'Some Blindness Can Be Avoided'

"It is important to recognize blind people, encourage people to check their eyes and focus on vision lost."

These were the words of Dr. Divinal Ogaoga, the Under Secretary for Health Care whilst giving the key note address in celebration of the World Sight Day today.

"It is important to raise the profile on the causes of blindness...we must double the commitment towards blind people and those that are visually impaired," he says.

"Over 124 million people world wide are either blind or have low vision. Over 161 million people have serious visual blindness. 90% of these figures are in the developing countries like the Solomon Islands," he said.

According to him, 0.5 % to 1% visually impaired people have blindness that can be avoided.

In the Solomon Islands, he stated that nearly 4000 people have cataract, due to the lack of access to eye clinics.

He stated that nearly 600-700 cataract cases have been operated on in an annual basis and 400 of these cases were operated on in the Provinces.

He also revealed that the possibility of blindness to eyes is due to the disease, Trachoma, which he said is related to personal hygiene and lifestyle.

"Solomon Islanders are vulnerable to many non-communicable disease that causes blindness. This is due to the change of lifestyle from our traditional one. Solomon Islanders need to be more careful," he said.