By Akem Olives Nkwain
The Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services has called all to prioritize eye health. According to Dr. Lydia Njkam, Ophthalmologist at Mbingo Baptist Hospital (MBH), a regular comprehensive eye check is the surest way to prioritize eye health. “Love your eyes, preserve them, and have regular checkups, she advised. “Many conditions that affect the body, affect the eyes. The eye is the lamp of the body, so you cannot know you have a condition if you do not get your eyes checked,” stressed Dr. Njkam. The need to prioritize eye health was emphasized as the CBC Health Services commemorated the 2021 World Sight Day. World Sight Day is an event to raise awareness of blindness and vision impairment as a major public concern; it is also a moment to spur action to improve access to eye care and raise funds for blindness prevention initiatives. This year’s event was commemorated at a time when “more than one billion people worldwide do not have access to eye care services,” says the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). In line with access to eye care, Dr. Njkam says the policy has a central role to play. “It is not all about checking the eyes, it is about policy. While we emphasize the need for the population to observe the 4Ps (protect, prevent, preserve and prioritize), as governments and as institutions, we must set eye health as a priority so that we can diagnose eye conditions early and manage them appropriately,” underpropped the expert. Visual impairments are today becoming a pandemic. According to Sight Savers, over 2.2 billion people across the world have visual impairments, though many are largely preventable. Quizzed on what it takes to avert the impairment pandemic, Lawyer Scholastica, Ophthalmic Medical Assistant at Nkwen Baptist Health Centre says prevention is the way out. “Many eye diseases can be prevented if we adopt a healthy lifestyle. By cutting down on smoking and drinking, maintaining a healthy weight through physical exercise and healthy eating, we can prevent most eye diseases,” she added. World Sight Day 2021 had as theme, “Love Your Eyes”. Loving your eyes entails being aware of your eye health by getting a sight test and recommending others to do same.