253mln people visually impaired, 36mln blind in world


Speakers say at a discussion marking World Sight Day

bdmetronews Desk ॥ An approximately 253 million people in the world live with moderate to severe vision impairment — around 36 million of them blind.

Ophthalmologists and eye health experts disclosed the information at a discussion held in Dhaka on Thursday in observance of the World Sight Day 2018. According to them, 89 percent of the vision impaired people live in low and middle-income countries.

The experts said around 750,000 people in Bangladesh are suffering from blindness and cataract is mainly responsible for their vision impairment. They said other main reasons for the blindness are refractive errors, diabetic retinopathy and childhood blindness.

According to them, around 80 percent blindness is avoidable by intervention.

National Eye Care under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare organised the discussion as part of the countrywide observance of the World Sight Day under the theme ‘Eye Care Everywhere’. Before the discussion at National Institute of Ophthalmology and Hospital (NIOH) at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, a colourful procession was taken out from the hospital.

Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi led the procession. He also spoke at the discussion as the chief guest. Prime Minister’s Health and Family Welfare Affairs Adviser Dr Syed Modasser Ali, Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Vice-present Dr Ava Hossain and Ophthalmology Society of Bangladesh President Dr Sharfuddin Ahmed were present as the special guests.

National Eye Care Line Director and NIOH Director Dr Golam Mostafa presented the keynote paper at the discussion.

He said around 1.5 million children in Bangladesh are suffering from low vision, which can be avoided through intervention. According to him, around 250,000 people in Bangladesh risk losing eyesight because of diabetic retinopathy.

Organisers said at the programme that the National Eye Care and International Agency for Prevention of Blindness are working together to eliminate avoidable blindness. INGO Forum, comprising Sightsavers, Orbis International, the Fred Hollows Foundation, Helen Keller International, CBM, BRAC, Heart to Heart Foundation and Andheri Hilfe, is supporting their work.

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