Hundreds of Cameroonians have been screened for various eye diseases free of charge as part of activities to mark the World Sight Day 2021, observed under the theme, “Love Your Eyes”.
The free eye screening exercise was jointly organized by the Acha Eye Hospital, Nsimeyong-Yaounde and the Christian Blind Mission, CBM. CBM is an international Christian organization that is committed to improving the living conditions of persons with disabilities in the world’s poorest countries.
By 9am local time, over 300 persons had registered for the free eye screening exercise in the Acha Eye Hospital in Yaounde, and 500 in the hospital branch in Cameroon’s economic Capital, Douala .
World Sight Day is a global observance set aside to raise awareness, and educate people on visual impairment and blindness.
Journalists schooled on eye health
Among the persons who took part in the eye screening exercise were journalists of the Yaoundé Chapter of the Cameroon Association of English -Speaking Journalists, CAMASEJ.
But prior to screening exercise , Dr. Elisabeth Asthma, Medical Officer of the Acha Eye Hospital Nsimeyong-Yaoundé, educated the journalists on the importance of regular eye checkup.
She told the journalists that early diagnosis and early treatment is always better, and encouraged them to quickly consult with ophthalmologists at the right time.
“Prevention is always better than cure. It is always better to have the right attitude so you do not get into trouble. When an eye problem begins, immediately see the specialist who will treat the issue with relative ease but, if you come late, it may also be late for the doctor to find a solution to a your eye problem”.
Eye health is particularly crucial for journalists because of risks related to Computer Vision Sydrome (CVS) which leads to various eye disorders including increased sensitivity to light, temporal myopia, eye fatigue, and blurred vision.
According to the Country Director of CBM Cameroon, Julius Fon, CBM is a big advocate for prevention and management of blindness. He says Cataracts affects 1% of persons aged 0-40 years and 88% of persons aged 60 and above in Cameroon yearly.
The Country Director says about 26000 new cases of Cataracts are reported in Cameroon yearly. The organization provides financial support for about 5000 cataract surgeries in Cameroon yearly, in collaboration with the country’s Public Health Ministry.
On the global landscape, CBM has provided financial support for 15million cataract surgeries. The association has also been providing eye care support services in about 8 of the country’s 10 regions for over 4 decades.
Recently, the organization in collaboration with the Presbytarian Eye Services, facilitated the creation of the first subregional Specialist Ophthalmologist Pediatric Unit, in Limbe worth about FCFA 1 billion.
In 2021, the CBM provided financial assistance to the Cameroon Baptist Convention to set a program that will foster eye care in the North West Region.
It also fosters community rehabilitation programs which permit patients to easily adapt to new lifestyles and be socio-economically empowered.
Kathy Neba Sina