November 30, 2021

Effective measures are needed to curb the spread of eye diseases in Pakistan, says Manza Gilani

ISLAMABAD: World Sight Day was observed all over the world yesterday to create awareness among the people about eyesight and eye diseases and to bring out the facts related to it.

On the occasion, Manza Gilani, Country Director, Site Savers Pakistan, said in a statement that 80% of vision related diseases are treatable but due to lack of proper eye treatment facilities and lack of public awareness, many people Can’t get treatment.

As a result, their blindness becomes a permanent disability and the affected people fall behind in all walks of life and fall into poverty. That is why blind people and families live below the poverty line and their disability increases their chances of becoming even poorer.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 2.2 billion people worldwide currently suffer from eye diseases, compared to four times more in developing countries than in developed ones. About 50% of those infected are curable.

If proper steps are not taken, the number of blind people worldwide could cross 115 million by 2050, almost three times the current number. Its annual loss is estimated at 10 410.7 billion.

Manza Gilani said that eye treatment facilities in Pakistan must be brought up to international standards to prevent the spread of blindness. He further said that Site Savers has worked with the government of Pakistan on various projects related to visual protection. These projects will improve eye care facilities in the country.

On the occasion of World Sight Day in Pakistan this year, Site Savers, in collaboration with the National Assembly, has translated the Pakistani Constitution into Braille so that the visually impaired can also benefit from it.

Obstacles to eye treatment in Pakistan are poverty, limited access to urban areas and lack of full access for people with disabilities.

The rate of cataracts in women is 63% higher than in men, while the number of women seeking cataract treatment is lower than that of men.

Ittefaq Khaliq Khan, Program Manager, Site Savers Pakistan, said that we must ensure that everyone has access to eye treatment everywhere and the role of the government is important in this regard.

Blindness is treatable up to 75% provided it is diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. For this, it is necessary to have an eye treatment facility at the primary level. He added that Site Savers is working with the Government of Pakistan as a key partner to improve the old eye health infrastructure and systems, inclusive education and community development.