Experts Urge Nigerians to Care for their Sights with More Fruits Intake

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Rebecca Ejifoma

To avoid millions of people coming down with visual impairment across the globe, medical experts from Skipper Eye-Q Super-Speciality Eye Hospital in Lagos have urged everyone on the need for balanced diet and intake of more fruits to care for their sight health in order to avoid preventable blindness.

The experts including a retina doctor and an ophthalmologist made this call in Lagos to mark the World Sight Day 2020 with the theme, ‘Hope in Sight’ as observed every second Thursday of October.

The Medical Director of Skipper Eye-Q, and Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr. Temitope Tijani, said fruits and balanced diets were the best ways to maintain a healthy body and sight.

She listed reddish colour fruits like oranges, which she described as good, carrots, and watermelons particularly those with the presence of beta-carotene as best for the eyes.

“The eye does not stand alone. The eye is part of the body. So, the first and most important thing is nutrition. Nutrition is vital. As you take care of your eyes you take care of your heart, liver, and kidney. Everything is linked,” she emphasised.

As an ophthalmologist, Tijani harps on on nutrition, which plays a vital role. “Eat balanced diet. Avoid junks, and fries. Rather do green leafy vegetables to get direct vitamins.”

While listing the many causes of visual impairment, Tijani explained, “We have several things causing blindness but a lot of them are reversible. So someone who is seeing just perception of light and comes with cataract after surgery the person sees excellently. Any vision lost to glaucoma is not gotten back.

In her view on World Sight Day, the Retinal Consultant, Dr. Zennat Shah described the day as a global event to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment.

Originally initiated by the sight first campaign of Lion’s Club International Foundation in 2000, World Sight Day is now coordinated by the international initiative of prevention of blindness in cooperation with WHO under the global initiative.

It is particularly set aside to enlighten the world of ways to care for their sight and promote a world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired.

While citing statistic showing that more than a billion people cannot see well because they don’t get access to proper health care facilities, the retina expert said it is imperative to ensure that everyone everywhere has an access to health facility.

“Around 36 million people across the world are blind. Four out of five cases of blindness are avoidable. So that means that 80 per cent of the people who are blind are not supposed to have lost their sight,” she sited.

For Shah, diabetic related complications is one of the diseases patients come down with that could lead to blindness.

“Data shows that about 285 million people worldwide have diabetes and about one-third of these individuals have diabetic retinopathy. So for these group of people with diabetic retinopathy related-complications we can detect it at a very early stage and we can prevent the patients from going into blindness,” she expressed.

As a retina who has met patients over the years, Shah says children are having development of refractive errors, because children don’t know how to complain that they are not able to see. Most of the time they are seeing with one eye and the other eye is not having any vision.

She, therefore, harped on giving importance to health while spreading the message of hope, “Give importance to your health. Health is wealth. If the health is good we can enjoy life”.

Part of measures to avoid blindness Shah recommended are, get regular eye check up, visit clinicians at regular intervals, get a nutritious diet and exercise regularly.

“Exercise is very important. Wear eye protection when you know there are risks of getting injuries so it is required. All the medications which is prescribed by the doctors should be taken regularly.” she added.