'DEARTH OF OPHTHALMOLOGISTS, BANE OF EYE CARE IN NIGERIA'
An eye specialist, Dr. Gboyega Ajayi, has identified the inadequate number of ophthalmologists in the country as miliating against quality eye care in the country.
Ajayi spoke in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, on Wednesday at the initiation ceremony of an intervention move tagged 'Seeing is Believing Project (South West Group)' aimed at reducing avoidable blindness, visual impairment and eye disease by 2020.
He regretted that despite the huge number of Nigerians that were in urgent need of eye care, the country could only boast of 300 ophthalmologists.
He attributed the insufficient number of eye specialists in the country to the fact that only about 20 new ophthalmologists are trained every year.
The figure, he added, was a far cry from the number of those in dire need of eye experts' attention.
For the country to adequately take care of those in need of eye treatment, Ajayi said it needed to train no fewer than 1,500 ophthalmologists by 2020.
He also observed that 80 per cent of the cases of blindness in the country could be avoided if genuine eye treatment was sought at the early stage.
He said it was regrettable that most people became blind from simple preventable or curable conditions.
He disclosed that over four million Nigerians are visually impaired.
If nothing drastic is done on time, Ajayi said the number might rise to 10million by 2020.
To create awareness and treat indigent people who may not be able to afford eye treatment, the Seeing is Believing, in collaboration with Standard Chartered Bank Plc and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, has set objectives that are aimed at making people overcome their eye problems.
According to him, the Seeing is Believing project is currently being implemented in some parts of the North Central, North West and South West regions of the country.