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The eyes are a passport to society – Keep them healthy!

The eyes, the sages say, are a passport to society. Without them, one is either limited or doomed entirely since it will be difficult to navigate the environment and the world in general.

So, keeping the eyes in top condition is crucial, and ensuring healthy eyes to prevent vision problems cannot be over-emphasised.

‘For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.’ These words from the famed Dutch Painter, Vincent Van Gogh, highlight the importance of sight as an inspiration to a genius.

As mere mortals, what one would ask is how one would feel if he or she could not see and know the difference between day and night and the immediate environment, not to talk about the world.

And similarly, if one is served food and was unable to determine the content. ?

These are the few challenges among others that are considered the daily painful trials of the life of the blind, which he or she must confront with fate.

If one does not have good eyesight, it is a disability th
at is hard to deal with. Clear vision can improve one’s quality of life.

Blindness, in the past, was synonymous with the aged and people living along riverbanks and valleys where the black fly was common, which infects the inhabitants with oncho disease.

However, in recent years, blindness is spreading like wildfire attacking both the aged and the youth and even children less than five years in communities with no scientific evidence to substantiate this new phenomenon.

The danger and worry about the emergence of eye diseases is now more noticeable at the basic and senior high schools in the Upper West Region.

No doubt about it, Ghana has many rural communities where residents do not understand how to take proper care of their eyesight for a better future.

The inability of people in the remotest communities to seek eye care, especially for their children, is worrying.

People in rural communities cannot visit the eyecare facilities for screening due to their remoteness, exposing them to serious eye probl

In some communities, this writer witnessed eye screening exercises, where some of the people who participated did not know the use of the eye drops given to them.

Probably, they had never seen an eye drop before.

Bliss Eye Care, a private eye clinic in Wa, which is championing and waging a relentless war on improving the eyesight of the rural folks, especially school children, is the only noticeable giant contributor in the effort to maintaining healthy eyesight for better wellbeing.

The Bliss Eye Care has been collaborating with both community leaders and school authorities in organising routine eye screening for the people in the communities, and with a special focus on school children under its Blissful Sight for Kids (BS4Ks) Project.

More than 500 basic school pupils and students of the Issa Youth Leadership and Skills Training Institute in the Upper West Region were recently screened for pathological issues, refractive errors, cataracts, posterior polar cataract and glaucoma among other eye dis

Beneficiaries who required medication were offered at no cost.

Three outstanding cases were recorded and immediate medical attention was given to get their conditions treated. This means they are potentially unable to carry out everyday activities, relying on help from friends and family.

One of the cases is 18-year-old Master Montey Sansa from Piisi in the Wa Municipality, who had a growth on both eyes since childhood.

He went for surgery, but the growth had redeveloped on the left eye, covering the entire eye and preventing it from seeing any object, thus making it difficult for him to study.

‘This is worrying me in my academic performance because it gives me sustained pains in the nights whenever I try to learn,’ he told the Ghana News Agency.

According to him, his father has two wives with 15 children. His mother has six of the children, and she has limited resources to take care of them, making life difficult for Montey.

Currently, he is a level 300 student at the Issa Youth Leadership and
Skills Training Institute, offering Agricultural Science.

?Master Sansa, therefore, in his appeal for support, found favour with Dr Rashid Pelpuo, the Wa Central Member of Parliament, who paid the bills for his surgery.

Another student, Miss Dapuri Charity, 20, was detected to have nystagmus challenges since birth.

In her narrative, she said she could not see beyond a certain range, and her eyes were always teary. She had visited the hospital twice, but nothing has changed.

She is offering Home Economics at the same school as Sansa.

‘I find it difficult to see objects from afar and very challenging to read. None of the teachers are aware of my condition; it is only my Junior High School teachers that are aware of it. I’m appealing to individuals and non-governmental organisations, as well as faith groups to come to my aid’.

Little Joyce who is four years old and in Kindergarten One is also suffering from polar cataract, which needs to be corrected sooner than later to keep her eyesight healthy and clear
to avoid impairment.

Joyce’s mother, Madam Judith Azaah, said she was born with the condition and was detected when she started to walk.

From her mother and siblings, she sometimes falls off when she is walking because she cannot see properly.

Dr Zakarea Al-hasan Balure, the Founder and Manager of the Bliss Eye Care in Wa, referred the affected to the Upper West Regional Hospital for medical attention.

He appealed for support in terms of medication and equipment to enable Bliss Eye Care to extend its services to more schools for early detection of eye diseases to facilitate treatment.

‘ Our eyes are an important part of our overall health and wellbeing. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting your eyes tested regularly can help us. We don’t have to take our eyes for granted,’ he said.

‘There is a need for people to ensure screening for their children for early detection of possible eye defects for intervention.’

‘For good eye condition is paramount for the proper education of children as any eye de
fect of a child could unduly affect his or her effective participation in teaching and learning.’

A routine check-up can uncover eye conditions such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

It may also be able to pick up the early signs of cataracts.

Dr Zakarea Al-hasan Balure appealed to community members, especially parents whose children are in school, to always take advantage of the exercise and screen their children and receive professional advice for treatment, if the need arises.

It seems, from the narrative, that neglected tropical diseases are emerging, and this writer is of the view that the Government should launch a comprehensive and deliberate eye screening campaign at the basic and senior high schools to ensure that pupils and students with defects are detected and corrected at the early stages.

All the eye care units of the health facilities at the community, district and regional levels should be adequately resourced with medications, equipment, and transport to reach out to the
remotest community schools for eye screening exercises to improve eye health. ?

The Government, non-governmental organisations, philanthropists, individuals and all stakeholders must work together to ensure the health of the people, especially the eyes, are prioritised and protected to promote learning and good academic performance by pupils and students as well as a healthy workforce.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting the eyes tested regularly can help prevent many diseases.

The eyes are a passport to society. Let’s keep them healthy!

Source: Ghana News Agency