Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Lagos Community Battles Blindness

Musibau Akara, 60, is among thousands of people on the verge of losing their sight to cataract. Consequently, he is seeking succour in the on-going free eye screening and surgery in Epe area of Lagos State.

Narrating his story to Sunday Vanguard, Akara said life was rosy and everything was going on smoothly for him until his sight began to fail him.

"I started having problem with my sight three years ago when I discovered I could not read or see objects properly.

"I actually did not know what was wrong with my eye. I tried all I could to solve the problem to no avail", he lamented.

Akara is not the only one going through this ordeal. There are several others in Epe about losing their sight to cataract, refractive error and glaucoma.

The 5-day free eye screening and surgery programme organised by Chevron Nigeria Limited, Eye Foundation Centre and a Lagos State lawmaker representing Epe constituency 1, Honourable Abiodun Tobun, revealed that majority of those having different eye defects are those within the age bracket 40 and above with high cases of cataract.

A medical practitioner, Dr. Tayo Bogunjoko, who was at the centre, told Sunday Vanguard that the most prevailing eye problem is cataract as well as refractive errors while a few glaucoma problem is also on record.

"There is hope for people suffering from cataract if the problem is reported on time. It involves the use of surgery on the patient provided there is no more pathology at the back of the eye," Bogunjoko said.

Meanwhile, Musibau is optimistic that with the programme, he might be able to regain his sight. Another resident, Mrs Adenola Taiwo, 46, said she could no longer see or read perfectly. "When I came to the programme, I was told I had refractive error but after underwent screening, I was given eye glasses."

Omotolani Ogunbanwo, 25, said, "I have been experiencing itching and swallowing eyes for a while and I have not been able to do anything to it. I used to have worms on my eyelids. But, with this programme, I know that there will be solution to the problem".

Meanwhile, Mr. Deji Haastrup, General Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Limited, said the involvement of Chevron in health issues was because health problems are on the increase.

Haastrup who was represented by Mr. Esimaje Brinkinn, Chevron Advisor, Social Performance, disclosed that investing in health is key to the development of the company.

President, Eye Foundation Centre, Dr. Adekunle Hassan, said, "the partnership is part of the corporate social responsibility of the organisation.Member, Lagos State House of Assembly, Abiodun, said, "The programme is aimed at reducing blindness in my constituent and that is why I have put up this programme for the benefit of my constituency. Asked if the programme was the first of its kind in Epe, he said, "The eye screening programme is the first attempt in health related programmes and it will be a continuous process in my constituency. "

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