An Ophthalmologist, Prof Abdulraheem Mahmoud says 75 percent of the one million Nigerians with blindness should not have been blind.
Mahmoud, said the causes of the blindness were either preventable or curable, and noted that majority of the blind people were poor.
He made the observation in Ilorin at the inaugural lecture of the Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Clinical Science of the University of Ilorin.
``One million Nigerians are blind and 3 out of 4 of them are avoidably blind from either preventable or curable causes, were appropriate eye resources made available to them,” he said.
Mahmoud noted that a lot of people had gone blind as a result of the failure of the society to address some of the causes of blindness.
Some of the causes, he said, include accidents due to bad roads, injuries sustained by children using inappropriate toys and communal clashes, among others.
He stated that about three quarter of the 37 million persons who are blind worldwide could have their sites restored.
“In Kwara State, our research survey of blindness and ocular motility revealed a prevalence of blindness of 75 percent with three major causes: cataract, glaucoma and River blindness.”
He identified cataract as a major cause of blindness, saying it constitutes half of the causes of blindness in the country. .
Mahmoud urged governments at all levels to deploy resources to the health sector, and to equip and provide staff at all the three levels of eye care in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
He said government should also embrace cost effective health intervention measures through a nationwide mobile cataract surgery programme.
Mahmoud equally suggested that Ophthalmologists should periodically go to district and rural hospitals with adequate surgical instruments and other logistics to conduct eye tests and surgeries.
He called for sustained funding of eye centers and suggested that funds from community insurance schemes and the Millennium Development Goals' poverty alleviation programme be used to prevent people from avoidable blindness.